Editorial: New Yea Coming! Let’s Continue Joint Efforts to Move “Cambodian Ship” Towards 2050 Goal
AKP Phnom Penh, April 14, 2019 —
The old year of 2562 BE has been moving forward towards the New Year of 2563 BE, therefore we would like to take this opportunity to wish all readers and followers of our website “akp.gov.kh” and to pray the new angel to continue protecting Cambodia so that it can achieve its main goal in 2050.
Dear all readers and followers, even though in the old year, our society and nation still faced injustice, land conflict, corruption issues and some other negative acts, we have worked hard together on the same way under one constitution and under the cool shade of His Majesty the King to push our “Cambodian Ship” forwards as we planned.
As Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia, highlighted in his message to his compatriots on the Khmer Traditional New Year, the Cambodian economy is estimated to grow at around 7.5 percent last year. This strong growth is reflected through the progress in industry, manufacturing, construction, agriculture, and services such as tourism and real estate. But, the most interesting is that Cambodia is transforming its economic structure from an agriculture-based to an industry- and service-based country. Cambodia has carried out a careful macroeconomic policy, stabilised the economy, and promoted the economic diversification, competitiveness, and local production and consumption. The international trade volume reached more than US$29.8 billion, while the exports were valued at over US$12.8 billion. The exchange rate was stable, the inflation rate was at a low and manageable level, and the foreign exchange reserves saw an annual increase thanks to good foreign investment growth and better payment balance.
Social indicators show that the people’s living standards have improved, particularly the average GDP per capita rose from US$1,042 in 2013 to US$1,563 in 2018. The poverty rate has dropped sharply from 53.5 percent in 2004 to around 9 percent in 2018 and will further fall in the new year. The income gap has also been minimised steadily.
In the past year, Cambodia attained major achievements in many fields, including physical infrastructure construction. The country is building an expressway from Phnom Penh to Sihanoukville, rehabilitating the railway network to connect to neighbouring countries in the coming New Year, etc.
For energy sector, hydropower and coal-fired power plants have generated in total more than 9.6 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, up 24.89 percent compared to 2017. Some 2.55 million households or some 72.16 percent of the total 3.38 million households or approximately 87 percent of the total 14,383 villages across the country have access to electricity, up to 2018. Nevertheless, at the end of this year, we have been facing power shortage of about 400 megawatts, but competent authorities have affirmed to do their best to resolve the issue in this new year.
Regarding rice cultivation, the Kingdom produced more than 10.6 million tons of paddy in the year of 2562 BE, up 2.63 percent over the previous year, with a surplus of over 6.2 million tons of paddy or about 4 million tons of milled rice for export. The country shipped more than 620,000 tons of milled rice to foreign markets last year.
Cambodia’s industrial and handicraft sectors have developed steadily. There are currently over 1,500 factories, most of which are garment and footwear factories, and more than 156,890 handicrafts and small and medium enterprises, generating more than 1 million jobs.
The construction sector has also been booming with more than 1,080 buildings, from 5 to 40 floors, in Phnom Penh and in some provinces. The number of international tourists to the Kingdom was recorded at some 6.2 million in 2018, a year-on-year increase of 10.7 percent, creating over 620,000 direct jobs and over 1 million indirect jobs and generating around US$4.4 billion income, up 15.13 percent.
Concerning foreign affairs, the Royal Government fulfilled with fruitful outcomes its diplomatic missions and international cooperation in all fields. In 2020, Cambodia will host the 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit. The Royal Government has been also contributing to the world peace by dispatching subsequently its troops to join peacekeeping missions under the UN umbrella in many countries.
These are some major achievements resulted from our joint endeavors during the year of 2562 BE, therefore in the year of 2563 BE, we should strive to maintain the existing achievements and use them as a basis for more achievements in the future, and at the same time we must protect peace, political stability, security, and public order under the constitution and the national motto “Nation, Religion, King”, and especially continue to eliminate the remaining negative acts so that our ship and society see more progress and realise our ambition of becoming a high-income economy in 2050.
By Khan Sophirom