The Kingdom of Cambodia in Southeast Asia spans low-lying plains, the Mekong Delta, mountains, and the Gulf of Thailand coastline. Demographically, Cambodia is a homogeneous and young nation with the median age of 23.9 years and about 90% of the population being ethnically Khmer and 95% identifying as Buddhist. After gaining independence from France in 1953, Cambodia experienced a period of political instability during 1960s-1990s with the Vietnam War extending into the country, the Khmer Rouge rule and genocide under Pol Pot. Cambodia had its first democratic election in 1993. Cambodia is now a parliamentary constitutional monarchy.

Two decades of strong economic growth have propelled Cambodia towards attaining lower middle-income status as of 2015, with the gross national income (GNI) per capita reaching USD 1,070.

Driven by the garment and tourism sector, Cambodia sustained an average growth rate of 7.6% from 1994 to 2015. Economic growth slightly eased to 6.9% in 2016, compared to 7% in 2015. However, it is expected to remain strong over the next two years, as the tourism sector coupled with fiscal expansion compensate for moderation in garment exports and construction growth.

Improving agricultural productivity, increasing education enrolment rates at all levels and building a skilled work force are key priorities for country to sustain economic development.

Download Market Report

Cambodia’s 2017 Fact File

World Giving Index Rank

2016
98 100 in 2015
  • 42%giving money
  • 15%volunteering time
  • 25%helping a stranger

Population

2016
15.96 million

GDP (PPP)

2016
USD 58.95 billion World Rank 104

Poverty

2012
17.7%

Per capita GDP (PPP)

2016
USD 3,737 World Rank 141

Global Competitiveness Index

2016
89 90 in 2015

Source: CIA, Charities Aid Foundation (CAF, 2016), Credit Suisse (2016), OECD (2016), World Economic Forum (WEF, 2016), World Bank (2017)

Economic Context for Investors

  • Favourable
  • Moderately favourable
  • Unfavourable
Factors Index Score/Rank Description
GDP Growth 2016
Index Score/Rank
7.0%
The economy advanced 7% in 2016. In 2017, GDP is forecast to grow between 6.5 and 7%.
Governance 2015
Index Score/Rank
-0.7
Cambodia ranks below 77% of 215 countries in the 2015 World Bank’s Worldwide Governance Indicators.
Consumer Market 2015
Index Score/Rank
USD 35 billion
Consumer spending increased in 2015 by 7% compared to 2014.
Labour Force 2016
Index Score/Rank
9 million
The national workforce increased by 2% from 2015 to 2016. Due to relatively low labour costs, Cambodia has become a preferred production base for light industries.
Infrastructure 2016
Index Score/Rank
3.2
Cambodia was ranked 106 among 138 countries in terms of infrastructure.
Financial Access 2014
Index Score/Rank
13% of the population
Access to finance increased by 239% from 2011 to 2014.
Digital Access 2015
Index Score/Rank
19% of the population
Internet penetration in Cambodia increased by 36% in 2015 over 2014.
Ease of Doing Business 2016
Index Score/Rank
131/190
Cambodia’s Ease of Doing Business rank deteriorated from 128 in 2015 to 131 in 2016. Significant challenges in Cambodia are weak rule of law, poor infrastructure, high energy costs, corruption, and under-developed human resources.
  • Favourable
  • Moderately favourable
  • Unfavourable

SDG Dashboard

Healthcare, water and sanitation and education remain development challenges for Cambodia. 33.5% of children in Cambodia are stunted, more than double the East Asia and Pacific’s average of 12.8%. 75% and 57.6% of Cambodia’s population did not have access to piped water supply and improved sanitation, respectively, in 2015. Cambodia’s lower secondary completion rate of 48% is significantly lower than the East Asia and Pacific’s average of 92%.

In 2013, the Royal Government of Cambodia formulated the “Rectangular Strategy-Phase III” as the primary blueprint supporting the country’s vision to become an upper-middle-income country by 2030. The Strategy lays out four strategic objectives that include: (i) ensuring an average annual economic growth of 7%, (ii) creating more jobs, especially for the youth, (iii) achieving more than 1 percentage point poverty reduction annually with emphasis on human resource development and sustainable management and use of natural resources and (iv) strengthening of institutional capacity and governance at the national and sub-national levels. The National Strategic Development Plan 2014-2018 outlines policy measures and key outcome indicators in accordance to the Rectangular Strategy-Phase III including educational attainments, health outcomes and access to safe water and improved sanitation.

  • No Poverty
  • Zero Hunger
  • Good Health and Well-Being
  • Quality Education
  • Gender Equality
  • Clean Water and Sanitation
  • Affordable and Clean Energy
  • Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
  • Reduced Inequalities
  • Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • Responsible Consumption and Production
  • Climate Action
  • Life Below Water
  • Life On Land
  • Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
  • Partnerships for the Goals
  • Sustainable Development Goals

Source: sdgindex.org (2016)

Government Focus on Development Gaps

Focus Area SDG Goals Gap Government Focus
Agriculture
SDG Goals
  • No Poverty
  • Zero Hunger
  • Decent Work and Economic Growth
Gap
Agriculture contributed 28% of the country’s GDP in 2015. However, 8.6 million farmers remain vulnerable, with seasonal fluctuation putting them back below the poverty line. The loss of only USD 0.3 per day would cause Cambodia’s poverty rate to double to 40%.
Government Focus
The Fifth Legislature of the National Assembly 2013-2018 aims to maintain the targeted agricultural growth of 5% per annum through enhanced productivity, diversification and commercialisation.
Climate action
SDG Goals
  • Climate Action
Gap
Cambodia ranked 9 out of 173 countries in the 2016 World Risk Index. The index highlighted that the country has an 86.84% chance of failure while coping with disasters.
Government Focus
Cambodia Climate Change Strategic Plan 2014-2023 focuses on improving governance and synergy between departments, reducing vulnerabilities in climate impact, ensuring resilience of critical ecosystems such as the Mekong river, and promoting low-carbon lifestyle.
Education
SDG Goals
  • Quality Education
Gap
While Cambodia achieved 97% net enrolment in primary education in 2016, its lower secondary completion rate of 48% is significantly lower than the East Asia and Pacific’s average of 92%.
Government Focus
The Fifth Legislature of the National Assembly 2013-2018 focuses on: (i) training of skilled and productive labour, (ii) building educational and vocational training institutions, (iii) encouraging private sector participation in education and (iv) strengthening the education quality and promoting scientific research, technology and innovation.
Energy access
SDG Goals
  • Affordable and Clean Energy
Gap
56.1% of the total population had access to electricity in 2014.
Government Focus
The Cambodian government plans to extend electricity to all villages by 2020 and to 70% of all households by 2030.
Healthcare, water and sanitation
SDG Goals
  • Good Health and Well-Being
  • Clean Water and Sanitation
Gap
In 2014, child mortality was 76 deaths per 1,000 live births for the poorest quintile of the population compared to 19 in the wealthiest quintile.
Government Focus
The Second Health Sector Support Programme aims to improve health care services in Cambodia by creating a Health Equity Fund. As of 2015, 100% of the poor population has access to the fund, helping nearly 8.46 million people receive access to basic health, nutrition and reproductive health. Cambodian Ministry of Rural Development and Asian Development Bank (ADB) undertook the Tonle Sap Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Sector Project in 2012 to achieve universal sanitation and water access by 2025.
Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) growth
SDG Goals
  • Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • Sustainable Cities and Communities
Gap
In 2015, SMEs constituted up to 97% of registered business, provided 30% of jobs and contributed to 12% of the country’s GDP.
Government Focus
The Industrial Development Policy 2015-2025 states expansion and modernisation of SMEs as a priority, accompanied by reforms in regulatory policy, frameworks for industry and labour market development.

Social Economy

Cambodia has an underdeveloped social economy with significant growth potential given high interest from social investors and enablers.

There are 3500 NGOs and 92 SEs in Cambodia.

Category Factor Rating Description
SPOs
Factor
Legislative environment
half SEs are not recognised by the Government in Cambodia. They operate either as for-profit or non profit organisations.
SPOs
Factor
Government support for SEs
quarter The government does not support SEs in any discernible manner including through legislation, funding, incubation or other forms of assistance.
SPOs
Factor
Presence, size, and maturity of SEs
half There are 92 SEs and 260 revenue generating NGOs with potential to become SEs. Digital Divide, Hagar International, Friends International, Sonas World and Mekong Quilts are examples of SEs that are scaling in terms of revenue and reach.
SPOs
Factor
SEs across sectors
half Most SEs are urban-linked, present across crafts, tourism, agriculture, micro-finance, and education.
Investors
Factor
Philanthropic contributions
half International foundations such as ADM Capital Foundation and Cambodia International Education Support Foundation follow an approach towards informed giving. Cambodia ranks low on the World Giving Index, indicating low activity around individual local philanthropy.
Investors
Factor
Presence of social investors
half Cambodia has a handful of social investors and funds: Insitor Fund SCA, Uberis Capital, Bamboo Finance, ARUN LLC, SIFEM, Mekong Brahmaputra Clean Development Fund, and Nexus for Development.
Investors
Factor
Corporate sector
quarter CSR activity is at its infancy in Cambodia. Companies are taking steps to comply with international ESG standards.
Enablers
Factor
Incubators, accelerators, and capacity-builders
half Insitor Fund SCA, ARUN LLC, USAID Development Innovation and Impact HUB’s EPIC programme provide incubation, acceleration and capacity building support. SmallWorld provides co-working spaces. SHIFT 360 and SEVEA Consulting provide capacity building.
Enablers
Factor
Networks and platforms
half AVPN, IIX, Social Enterprise Cambodia, Nexus for Development and universities run platforms and networks for SEs.
Enablers
Factor
Knowledge and research
quarter The Royal University of Phnom Penh, the Royal University of Law and Economics, and Limkokwing University hold classes, conferences, or seminars on the SE sector. The Royal University of Phnom Penh, in partnership with various agencies ran a series of social enterprise conferences from 2011 to 2014.
Enablers
Factor
Partnerships
quarter There are a few cases of international agency partnerships such as the one between USAID Development Innovation and Impact HUB.

partnership Partnership Opportunity

Demand, Supply and Support Ecosystem in Cambodia

Case Studies in Cambodia

View more case studies

Kamonohashi’s mission is to create a world without sexual trafficking and exploitation as well as to prevent vulnerable women and children from being trafficked.

View This Case Study
More Market Reports
Download report

Social Investment Landscape in Asia

Download North & South Asia Report Download South East Asia Report