Located on the Indochinese Peninsula, Cambodia shares borders with Vietnam to the east, Laos to the north, Thailand to the northwest, and the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest. It has a population of 17 million. It is home to the famous Angkor Wat, the largest empire in Southeast Asia in the 12th century, and is believed to be the largest pre-industrial city in the world.
In the 1970s, Cambodia had seen violence and unspeakable atrocities. In 1975, the Khmer Rouge took power, and tortured and killed hundreds of thousands of the country’s educated, middle-class citizens. When it was finally overthrown by Vietnamese forces in 1979, at least 1.7 million Cambodians had been killed. Currently, the monarch, chosen by the Royal Council of the Throne, is the head of state, while the prime minister is the head of government; PM Hun Sen is the longest serving non-royal leader in the region having been in office since 1985.
The economic potential of modern day Cambodia should not be underestimated. GDP grew by 7 times from 2000 to 2021; though growth dipped during the pandemic, it is projected to steadily rise by 5.3% in 2022 and 6.5% in 2023. During the same period, GDP per capita rose more than 5 times. As a key node in the Belt and Road Initiative, transport and open access will facilitate growth and new business opportunities.
Tourism plays a crucial role in Cambodia’s economy with its beautiful geography and rich heritage. The textile industry is just as prominent, with cheaper labor costs than its Southeast Asian counterparts; the country is among the top 10 clothing exporters in the world.
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