Overview

  • Last updated: October 2017

    Following more than two decades of strong economic growth, Cambodia has attained the lower middle-income status as of 2015, with gross national income (GNI) per capita reaching $1,070. Driven by garment exportsand tourism, Cambodia has sustained an average growth rate of 7.6% in 1994-2015, ranking sixth in the world. Economic growth is expected to remain strong over the next two years (6.8% in 2017 and 6.9% in 2018) as recovering tourism activity coupled with fiscal expansion compensate for some moderation in garment exports and construction growth.

    Poverty continues to fall in Cambodia, albeit more slowly than in the past. In 2014, the poverty rate was 13.5% compared to 47.8% in 2007. About 90% of the poor live in the countryside. While Cambodia has achieved the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving poverty in 2009, the vast majority of families who escaped poverty were only able to do so by a small margin. Around 4.5 million people remain near-poor, vulnerable to falling back into poverty when exposed to economic and other external shocks.

    Health and education remain both important challenges and development priorities for Cambodia. 32% (or approximately 0.5 million) of children under five are stunted. While net enrollment in primary education increased from 82% in 1997 to 97% in 2016, lower secondary completion rates, at 43% in 2013, are significantly below the average for lower middle-income countries. As of 2015, 70 percent of Cambodia’s population (12.3 million people) do not have access to piped water supply, and 58 percent (9.3 million people) do not have access to improved sanitation.

    Cambodia has made good strides in improving maternal health, early childhood development, and primary education in rural areas. The maternal mortality ratio per 100,000 live births decreased from 472 in 2005 to 170 in 2014, the under-five mortality rate decreased from 83 per 1,000 live births in 2005 to 35 per 1,000 in 2014.

    In spite of these achievements, Cambodia still faces a number of development challenges, including the need for good quality public service delivery, inclusive development, better land administration and natural resources management, environmental sustainability, and good governance. Going forward, the success of addressing these challenges will rest not only on maintaining macroeconomic stability and enhancing economic diversification and export competitiveness, but also on improving the quality of public service delivery through more effective public spending that is more responsive to citizens’ needs.

  • Last updated: October 2017

    Cambodia received its first credit from the World Bank in 1993. Following decades of conflict, the World Bank’s priority areas were to support the reconstruction of social and economic institutions and the development of physical infrastructure. Since 1999, increasing focus has been placed 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.

    In 2015, the World Bank Group carried out extensive country consultations with stakeholders on Cambodia’s development opportunities and challenges. These consultations helped inform the World Bank Group Country Engagement Note (CEN), a two-year strategy to support Cambodia in sustaining inclusive and resilient growth to reduce poverty and enhance shared prosperity. The strategy was endorsed by the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors on May 19, 2016.

    The strategy elaborated in the CEN supports Cambodia’s 2014-2018 National Strategic Development Plan and aims to help the country further improve its business climate, deliver better social and infrastructure services, and generate opportunities for the poorest by investing in productive assets.

    The CEN, in addition to analytic and advisory activities, includes seven investment projects, totaling about $250 million from the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s fund for the poorest.

    As part of the implementation of the CEN, the World Bank Group has prepared a Systematic Country Diagnostic (SCD) to help identify opportunities and challenges, as well as priority development areas for ensuring strong, inclusive and sustainable growth and shared prosperity in Cambodia going forward. Between November and December, 2016, the World Bank Group engaged in discussions with a wide set of stakeholders around the SCD (nine meetings, four locations, 375 participants).

    Drawing from the analysis and consultations, the SCD identified three pathways for development:

    1. Enhancing export competitiveness and economic diversification to sustain strong growth and create jobs
    2. Building human assets to facilitate economic mobility and shared prosperity
    3. Ensuring a more sustainable growth pattern by investing in natural capital, climate resilience, and sustainable urban development

    The SCD also proposes a series of specific interventions to contribute to the three development pathways.

    The SCD analysis will help in preparing the upcoming World Bank Country Partnership Framework (CPF).

    The International Finance Corporation (IFC) supports the private sector in Cambodia through investment and advisory services. It works with the government to develop a competitive private sector and promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth. Since 2000, IFC has invested and mobilized more than 900 million in Cambodia with a focus on financial, infrastructure and education sectors.

    The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, the Bank Group’s political risk insurance arm, stands ready to offer political risk insurance and guarantees to investors in sectors such as finance, manufacturing, agribusiness and services, and infrastructure.

  • Last updated: October 2017

    The World Bank has supported education projects in Cambodia through Bank-administered programs funded by the Global Partnership for Education as well as other development partners. The programs granted scholarships to students and trained teachers in addition to building schools and setting up early childhood education programs. By June 2016, 38.51% of children between 3 and 5 years old have enrolled in urban and rural districts where 100 formal and 500 community-based new preschool facilities were provided, 3,861 community early child education teachers and mothers have been trained and more than 125,337 students between 3-5 years old directly benefited from project activities.

    Through the Higher Education Quality and Capacity Improvement project, about 1,000 students received scholarships and 64 public and private professors/staff were able to complete their studies overseas. A total of 45 research grants were issued to support teaching and learning. To find solutions to local problems, 78 overseas programs and 254 local training programs were conducted for more than 10,000 higher education leaders, managers and teachers to improve the quality of Cambodia's education.

    The increasing share of financing from the Royal Government of Cambodia, combined with co-financing from the World Bank and other development partners, has helped to improve coverage and quality of health care services throughout Cambodia. The health projects helped to expand the health facility network, supplied medical equipment, financed technical and institutional capacity improvement and provided better sanitation and water quality. The Health Equity Fund (HEF) is helping over 3 million beneficiaries in the country access basic and comprehensive health care services, ranging from primary and preventive care to advanced treatment and surgeries in provincial and national hospitals, and has financed 10.46 million visits to public health facilities by the end of 2016.

    Water and Sanitation. The World Bank supported the government strengthen reforms and regulatory functions in the sector. Aligning with government’s decentralization reform agenda, a two-year pilot of decentralized rural sanitation service delivery was implemented in ten districts in two provinces. By June 2017, 24,458 households in the pilot districts gained access to improved sanitation, representing a seven percentage point increase per year. After the pilot, the government decided to increase resources and scaled up the rural sanitation to additional five districts. The Bank also supported the government in the development of a water supply monitoring system to help improve the government’s regulation capability and to encourage water supply operators to improve their services. Data for over half of the 200 water operators in Cambodia are now available in the system.

    In the transport sector, the World Bank-financed Road Asset Management Project (RAMP) helped to rehabilitate some 470 kilometers of Cambodia’s national and provincial road network. As a result, travel time has been reduced from 2 hours to 1.6 hours per 100 kilometers. The project also helped to strengthen capacity in the Ministry of Public Works and Transport in road asset management planning, budgeting and routine and periodic road maintenance.

    Public Finance Management. Through the Public Finance Management Modernization Project and related activities, the World Bank is helping Cambodia to improve its ability to raise revenues and strengthen its public finance management system. Key achievements include improved revenue generation capacity and debt sustainability rating; use of banking system for government transactions; and the installation of a Financial Management Information System (FMIS) to facilitate improved budget management through more timely, automated payment processes, and accurate and transparent financial reporting that can be used and analyzed by government and other interested stakeholders. The system has been rolled out for all 25 Provincial Treasury Departments.

    Through the Voice and Action Project, the World Bank and other development partners are supporting NGOs to improve the quality of service delivery by Commune Councils, Health Centers, and primary schools in 98 districts and 18 provinces. After the first year of implementation in 2016, Joint Accountability Action Plans (JAAPs) was developed jointly between service providers and community members in 282 communes, with a majority of identified actions completed including improvements in the availability and attitudes of staff, improved information on service charges, and improved public knowledge of service provider budgets and expenditures.

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LENDING

Cambodia: Commitments by Fiscal Year (in millions of dollars)*

*Amounts include IBRD and IDA commitments



PHOTO GALLERY

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In Depth

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Cambodia’s Health Journey

Cambodia has made great strides in healthcare with maternal and child mortality vastly reduced.

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New World Bank Vice President for East Asia and Pacific Visits Cambodia

Cambodia has the opportunity to maintain robust growth, continue lifting people out of poverty and sharing prosperity among all.

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Dreams Come True for Poor, Landless Farmers

Under a World Bank project, 250 families received land titles. For poor farmers like Khouy Thoeun her dream of owning land has come true.

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Raising Reading Scores in Cambodia

Emerging from years of political turmoil, Cambodia has improved language acquisition, especially in the early school grades.

Additional Resources

Country Office Contacts

Phnom Penh
Exchange Square Building, No. 19-20, Street 106, Sangkat Wat Phnom, Khan Daun Penh, Phnom Penh
Tel: +855 23 261300
Fax: + 855 23 261301-2
cambodia@worldbank.org
Washington
1818 H Street NW, Washington, DC 20433 Tel: +1 202-473-4709
eastasiapacific@worldbank.org