Cambodia is increasingly integrating with the region and has enjoyed a decade of macroeconomic stability and growth. However, its progress in meeting the Millennium Development Goals is uneven. Read More »
Cambodia’s economy grew at almost 10 percent per year between 1998 and 2008. Although this remarkable growth was interrupted by the global economic downturn in 2008-09, Cambodia’s GDP growth reached a four-year high of 7.1 percent. This growth momentum is expected to continue with projected growth rates of 6.7 percent in 2013 and 7.0 percent in 2014. It is driven by strong exports, private investment, agriculture, diversification, and a solid macroeconomic position.
The rapid economic growth created employment opportunities which contributed to the decline in poverty headcount from 34.7 percent in 2004 to 20 percent in 2011. From 2004-09 Cambodia saw an even steeper decline in poverty rates. World Bank estimates suggest that Cambodia achieved the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving poverty by 2009. However, rural poverty remains a challenge, with 90 percent of the poor residing in the countryside.
Cambodia’s progress in meeting the other MDGs is encouraging. Thanks to an expansion of maternal health and early childhood care, and primary education programs in rural areas, strong progress has been made in areas particularly on child mortality (the under 5 mortality rate has decreased from 124 per 1,000 live births in 1998 to 83 in 2006 to 43 in 2011), primary education (the net primary admission rate increased from 81 in 2001 to 92.4 in 2008); and maternal mortality (the number of deaths per 100,000 live births decreased from 472 in 2005 to 206 in 2010). Cambodia has also been successful in HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. As of 2010, 90 percent of people infected with HIV/AIDS in Cambodia have access to antiretroviral treatment. This coverage is among the highest in the developing world.
Cambodia still faces a number of development challenges. In particular, these are: the effective management of natural resources and land management, and environmental sustainability and the pursuit of good governance. Corruption and poor public services delivery impede inclusive development.
The World Bank’s first credit to Cambodia was in 1993. Following decades of conflict in Cambodia, the World Bank’s priority areas were the reconstruction of social and economic institutions and the development of physical infrastructure. Since 1999, increasing focus was put on governance reforms, macroeconomic stability and sustainable economic growth, private sector development, rural development, sustainable natural resource management, and improving and expanding health and education services.
The World Bank Country Assistance Strategy (2005-2008) outlined two priority areas: removing governance constraints on growth and poverty reduction and supporting the strategies and investments needed to achieve Cambodia’s development goals. Projects financed by the World Bank under this strategy have been designed to help implement the Government’s National Strategic Development Plan for 2006-2011 (now extended to 2013) and to achieve Cambodia’s MDGs.
Human development, particularly in the areas of health and education, remains an important development priority for Cambodia. About 40% of children under five-years-old are malnourished. The Government needs to invest more on its human resources and create opportunities for all, especially the poor and vulnerable.
The World Bank remains concerned about conflicts over land issues in Cambodia It is critical to Cambodia’s sustained economic and social development that such conflicts are resolved fairly and peacefully.
The World Bank continues to discuss with the Royal Government of Cambodia how to support the country's development to ensure that all Cambodians can participate in and benefit from their country's future.
The impact of the partnership between the World Bank Group and the Royal Government of Cambodia spans many sectors.
Education. The Education Sector Support Project expanded educational facilities in poor areas, delivered scholarship programs to poor children, provided training and capacity building at local levels to improve education services, and addressed specific implementation issues. More than 27,000 lower secondary school students (in Grades 7-9) received scholarships to complete all nine years of their basic education and over 6,300 primary school teachers (Grades 1-6) were trained to become basic education teachers (up to grade 9). Under the Cambodia-Education for All Fast Track Initiative, which was launched in 2008 and is still ongoing, 1,270 classrooms have been constructed and 900 early childhood education programs have been established to reach 26,042 children. In addition, 11,892 poor primary school students have received scholarships, 11,000 teachers have been trained to improve quality of teaching in reading, and 30 district education office buildings have been constructed.
Health. The Health Sector Support Project support for national disease control programs contributed to reducing dengue fever outbreaks and the fatality rate of tuberculosis and malaria infections. Assistance was also given for dengue fever and sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS programs. In 2008, an estimated 2.3 million poor people were covered by the Health Equity Fund schemes.
Water.Two water supply projects have helped provide 90 percent of Phnom Penh’s residents with a reliable water supply. These projects expanded the water supply network in Phnom Penh to 1,966 kilometers with 192,000 connections, provided subsidized connections to 3,827 poor households in the city, and built 11 water plants around the country. They also assisted the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority (PPWSA) in meeting commercial and industrial standards.
Energy. The World Bank provided technical assistance to develop a model production facility for Neang Kongrey stoves, which are inexpensive and environmentally friendly. Women played key roles in this venture as producers, advocates, retailers, and end-users. With these stoves families can save money on energy, boost their incomes, save time, and enjoy healthier homes.