Population – Cambodia being one of the smaller countries in the world is only the 71st most populous country having a current population of over 16 million people. Its population growth rate over the years has slowed down and currently stands at 1.4%. However, the country has managed to drastically reduce the percentage of its population below the poverty line from 50% in 2004 to 12% in 2020. This decrease in poverty rate and economic growth poses a great opportunity for potential investors to capitalize on. Along with this it also has one of the highest labor force participation rates across the globe, which is 87% and it continues to rise.
Ethnic and religious diversity – As we can see from the chart below, Cambodia is not an ethnically diverse country. The Khmer account for the majority (97%) of the population and this gives a homogeneity that is unique in Southeast Asia and provides its people with a sense of unity and national identity. Apart from this, the other ethnic minorities include the Chinese, Vietnamese, Muslim Cham-Malays and various indigenous people of the rural highlands.
Most ethnic Khmer practice Buddhism and since the majority of the population of Cambodia consist of the Khmer, Buddhism is the most practiced religion there. It was also recognized as the state religion of Cambodia until 1975. As of 2009 93% of the population practiced Buddhism followed by Islam, Christianity and other religions and the same can be seen in the figure below-
Age – As compared to other countries Cambodia is a relatively young country. 33% of its population belongs to the category of children under the age of 15 while about 60% of its population is under the age of 30. This provides the country with a promising long-term benefit as they do not need to face the hardships of an ageing population and it makes an attractive market for investors to invest in.
Literacy Rate (% of people ages 15 and above) – 81%
Quality of Infrastructure Ranking – When it comes to the quality of infrastructure, in comparison to other ASEAN countries, Cambodia does not fare too well and is lagging behind. According to the World Bank, as of 2017, Cambodia’s rank in quality of infrastructure is 99 in the world. Having said that, what needs to be acknowledged is that over the years it has tried to drastically improve its infrastructure and continues to do so with the help of foreign investments from countries like China, Japan and Australia. With this improvement there will in turn be better jobs and economic growth in the country and this makes it an attractive emerging market in the ASEAN region. Over a period, the country’s ranking amongst its ASEAN peers on the Overall Logistics Performance Index has been as follows:
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