Globalization and Development in the Mekong Economies
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Globalization and Development in the Mekong Economies

Edited by Suiwah Leung, Ben Bingham and Matt Davies

Since the late 1980s, Vietnam, Cambodia, PDR Lao, and Myanmar have been opening their economies to international trade and investment. With the exception of Myanmar, the reforms have yielded impressive results, but the process is far from complete. In this enlightening book, a group of leading scholars outline the continuing reform efforts needed to survive the current global recession and place these economies in a competitive position on the recovery of the world economy.
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Chapter 10: Cambodia: Country Case Study

Matt Davies


Matt Davies1 INTRODUCTION Following the end of decades of ravaging conflict in the 1990s, Cambodia underwent an impressive renaissance. Besides political stability, economic growth and reducing poverty, the country also re-integrated with the international community, joining ASEAN and the WTO. So many achievements in such a short time point to a bright future. However, Cambodia remains a distinctly poor country where rapid growth disproportionately favored the urban rich at the expense of the rural poor. Moreover, recent global economic developments reveal the fragility of macroeconomic stability in a narrowly based economy that is vulnerable to external shocks with key growth sectors facing increasingly intense international competition. The quality of governance remains basic and corruption is widespread. This chapter reviews the reasons for Cambodia’s economic success since 1995 and examines the extent to which it continues to drive growth and poverty reduction in the medium to long term. Will Cambodia exit lowincome status in this generation and begin to catch up with its ASEAN partners or remain a poor relation within ASEAN subject to the vulnerabilities that face low-income countries? The answers lie mostly in the policy choices made in the coming months and years. The chapter outlines some key reform priorities for Cambodia in Section 4, prior to which sections 2 and 3 attempt to understand how the Cambodia of today came about. Section 5 concludes. 2 THE HISTORICAL AND POLITICAL BACKDROP Cambodia remains marked by the affects of the conflict in Indochina in the 1970s and by the genocidal...

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