(WIPO code: KH) (last revised April 2021)

by BNG LEGAL, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

General Information

Area

181,035 sq. km.

Population

16,718,965 (estimated 2020).

Capital

Phnom Penh.

Official language

Khmer.

Currency

Riel; the U.S. dollar is widely accepted.

Most important agricultural and industrial products

Rice, corn, tobacco, pepper, rubber, cassava, hides, fish, cattle, coal, timber, zinc and tin.

General Remarks

Cambodia was an associated State within the French Union under the Treaty of November 8, 1949. It declared its independence from France on November 9, 1953.

After years of leadership struggle and a genocide committed by the Khmer Rouge regime under Pol Pot, 1.5 million Cambodians died from execution, forced hardships, or starvation. Some of the surviving Khmer Rouge leaders are still awaiting the trial by a U.N.-sponsored tribunal for crimes against humanity called “Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia (ECCC)” since 2001.

Following U.N.-sponsored elections in 1993, the two leading parties agreed on June 18, 1993, to share power in an interim government until a new constitution was adopted. On September 21, 1993, a constitution that created a constitutional monarchy was adopted by the National Assembly. It went into effect on September 24, 1993. The July 2003 elections were relatively peaceful, but it took one year of negotiations between contending political parties before a coalition government was formed. In October 2004, King Norodom Sihanouk abdicated the throne and his son, Prince Norodom Sihamoni, succeeded him.

The country is largely undeveloped and lacks basic infrastructure; however, the Cambodian government is working with bilateral and multilateral donors, including the World Bank and IMF, to address the country’s many pressing needs.

75% of the land is virgin forest. The main resources are forestry, fishing and agriculture, rice occupying about 80% of the land under cultivation. The agriculture sector occupies 75% of the labor force. Cattle raising flourishes and valuable hardwoods are to be found in the forests. There are also some iron, copper, bauxite, manganese, gold and gems deposits attracting significant investors’ interest. Exploitable oil and natural gas deposits were recently found beneath Cambodia’s territorial waters. The tourism industry is growing rapidly. From 2004 to 2008, the economy grew about 10% every year, driven largely by an expansion in the garment sector, construction, agriculture, and tourism.

Driven largely by an expansion in the garment sector and tourism, the economy developed at an average growth rate of 8% between 1998 to 2018. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted Cambodia's economy (projected to a negative growth of 2% in 2020), it is expected to rebound and rise by 4% in 2021.