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 rapidly, at more than 8 percent per year, between 2004 and 2012. GDP growth slowed during the global economic downturn in 2008-09 and then picked up again to reach a four-year high of 7.3 percent in 2012. The economy is expected to grow at around 7 percent in 2013, driven by strong exports, private investment and agriculture, and underpinned by a solid macroeconomic position. Economic growth broadened over the past few years, thanks to sustained growth in the agricultural sector, driven by increases in rice prices in global markets.
Poverty in Cambodia has fallen sharply. World Bank estimates suggest that Cambodia achieved the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving poverty in 2009. However, a vast majority of families who were lifted out of poverty were only able to do so by a small margin. Today, the poverty rate is 20.5 percent. Still about 2.8 million people are poor, and about 90 percent of them live in the countryside.
Cambodia has made good strides in improving maternal health, early child care, and primary education programs in rural areas. The number of deaths per 100,000 live births decreased from 472 in 2005 to 206 in 2010, the under-five child mortality rate decreased from 124 per 1,000 live births in 1998 to 54 in 2010, and the net primary school admission rate increased from 81 in 2001 to 94.3 in 2012.
Cambodia has also been successful in HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. As of 2011, 95 percent of people infected with HIV/AIDS in Cambodia have access to antiretroviral treatment. This coverage rate is among the highest in the developing world.
Cambodia still faces a number of development challenges, including effective management of land and natural resources, environmental sustainability, and good governance. Corruption and poor public service delivery impede inclusive development.
Last Updated: December 23, 2013
Cambodia received its first credit from the World Bank in 1993. Following decades of conflict in Cambodia, 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.
The World Bank Country Assistance Strategy (2005-2008, extended to 2011) 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 Cambodia’s National Strategic Development Plan for 2006-2011 (extended to 2013) and to help Cambodia achieve the MDGs.
Human development, particularly in the areas of health and education, remains an important development priority for Cambodia. About 40 percent of children under five-years-old are malnourished and are short for their age.
The World Bank remains concerned about conflict over land issues in Cambodia. It is critical to Cambodia’s sustained economic and social development that these are resolved fairly and peacefully.
The World Bank continues to discuss with the government on how to support the country's development in a way that benefits all Cambodians.
Last Updated: December 23, 2013
The impact of the partnership between the government, World Bank, and development partners spans many sectors.
Education: More than 27,000 lower secondary school students received scholarships to complete all levels of basic education and over 6,300 primary school teachers were trained to become basic education teachers. Under the Cambodia-Education for All Fast Track Initiative, 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 received scholarships, 11,000 teachers were trained to improve teaching quality, and 30 district education office buildings were constructed.
Health:The Second Health Sector Support Program is expanding health facility networks, improving the quality of healthcare service, and building the institutional capacity of health professionals. In 2012, the health equity fund, supported by the World Bank Group and other donors, was expanded to cover 78 percent of the country’s poor population.
Land: The Government’s land reform agenda includes allocation of social land concessions. The Land Allocation for Social and Economic Development (LASED) project, which the Bank supports, has provided land and livelihood support to more than 4,700 landless or land-poor families. This is a pilot project to test the design and implementation of a sustainable social land concession program.
Water Supply: With support from the World Bank Group and various donors, the Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority (PPWSA) is now one of the best-performing water utilities in the region. It provides high-quality potable water to 90 percent of the population in Phnom Penh and its outer areas, benefiting 11,670 poor families. The PPWSA has also helped the Ministry of Industry, Mines, and Energy build 11 water supply schemes that have provided 15,000 families with clean, potable water.
Transport: The Road Asset Management Project has helped rehabilitate 450 kilometers of national and provincial roads. It has also helped improve the efficiency and governance of the transport sector by strengthening the capacity within the Ministry of Public Works and Transport for road maintenance, planning, budgeting and operations.
Energy: The World Bank provided technical assistance to develop a model production facility for inexpensive and environmentally friendly Neang Kongrey stoves or cook stoves, and the Rural Electrification Project has helped more than 72,000 families gain access to electricity.