Cambodia’s economy is primarily agriculture based. The country borders Thailand, Vietnam and Laos. The densely populated plains are dedicated to rice and are the heartland of Cambodia. In 2005, oil and natural gas reservoirs were found under Cambodia’s territorial waters and commercial extraction is expected to begin in 2011. Tourism is the second most contributing industry, besides agriculture, and adds a substantial amount to the Cambodian GDP. The country has a history of regional economic crises, political infighting and civil violence that ended in 1999. There was a dramatic slump in the economy during 1997-98. Tourism and foreign investment faced a major set back at this time. Cambodia’s economy resumed growth at 5.0% in 1999 and 2000, despite severe flooding. The economic grew at 6.3% in 2001 and 5.2% in 2002. Owing to remarkable expansion in the agriculture, garment, tourism and construction sectors, the Cambodian economy saw substantial 10% growth per year from 2004 to 2007. The global economic recession of 2008 brought down the growth rate to below 7%. The per capita income of Cambodia is increasing swiftly but is lower than that of its various neighboring countries. With over half of the population aged below 21, the economy suffers from high demographic imbalance. The level of education and productive skills are extremely low especially in the downtrodden countryside. Many areas experience a complete lack of basic infrastructure.
Here are some of the highlights of Cambodia’s economy:
• GDP (purchasing power parity): o $27.92 billion (2009 est.) o $28.34 billion (2008 est.) o $26.99 billion (2007 est.) GDP (official exchange rate): $10.9 billion (2009 est.) GDP growth 10.3%