At almost 10 percent per year between 1998 and 2008, Cambodia's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth was very strong. The episode of sustained growth was interrupted in 2008-09, but is recovering strongly in 2010-11 with GDP growth estimated at 6.7 percent.
The rapid economic growth has created employment opportunities and the poverty headcount has declined from 45-50 percent in 1993-94 to 30 percent in 2007. Poverty is concentrated in rural areas (90 percent).
Cambodia’s progress toward meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) has been strong albeit uneven. Especially strong progress has been made in a number of areas, such as poverty reduction, primary education (e.g., the net primary admissions rate increased from 81 in 2001 to 92.4 in 2008), child mortality (e.g., the under 5 mortality rate has decreased from 124 per 1,000 live births in 1998 to 83 in 2005), and HIV/AIDS. However, progress has been lagging behind in other areas, in particular maternal mortality and environmental sustainability.
A review of governance indicators confirms the importance of governance as a key development issue for Cambodia. In surveys such as the Bank’s Investment Climate Assessment, firms report high levels of corruption and register complaints about the costs and reliability of public services.
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