While per capita income remains low compared to most neighbouring countries, Cambodia has one of the fastest growing economies in Asia with growth averaging 6 percent over the last decade. Agriculture remains the dominant economic sector, with strong growth in textiles, construction, garments, and tourism leading to increased foreign investment and international trade.
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.
Of Cambodia’s 510,000 enterprises, only 70,000 or 14% are in manufacturing, in which 35% are garment and textile enterprises. It should be noted that 80% of large industrial enterprises are in garment, textile and footwear. The manufacturing structure is still underdeveloped because garment and textile production are industries with low value added and less sophisticated.
From the view of export structure, over the 2000-2008 period, export of textile and footwear accounted for 75.6%. However, between 2009 and 2013, export of textile and footwear declined to just around 58%.
The Cambodian industry is labor-based focusing on certain labor intensive and unsophisticated production chain. For instance, in the garment and textile industry, about 60% of factories are operating in Cut, Make and Trim (CMT), whereas only one fourth of them are engaged in downstream production like embroidery, washing, packaging and eventually exporting finished products. Cambodia is still unable to weave fiber or extrude yarn because such production lines require adequate and reliable electricity supply at low price; as a result, such inputs have to be imported from other Asian countries.
For more information on Cambodia, please refer to http://data.un.org/CountryProfile.aspx?crname=Cambodia and http://www.worldbank.org/en/country/cambodia/overview