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Foreword To assess the economic situation in Cambodia, we need to have a clear understanding of its past. Cambodia has moved in stages, many traumatic, from a position as a war-torn, conflict-ridden, isolated country to one of stability, which is underpinned by a gradual progress to a market economy. Notwithstanding the significant progress that has been made since 1993, when the UNsupervised elections were held, the country still faces many daunting challenges in its efforts to improve the livelihood of its people. In a larger sense, Cambodia’s contemporary economy is the legacy of its troubled past and political conflict, during which the foundations for growth and development — physical, social, economic, and human ­ — have been devastated. After the Paris Peace Agreements were signed on 23 October 1991, Cambodia moved swiftly to integrate itself into the international community. Cambodia’s membership in ASEAN, WTO, and the East Asia Summit, as well as cooperation within the framework of the Greater Mekong SubRegion (GMS) provided great opportunities to reform the investment and foreign trade regime. This was done by focusing on the liberalization and decentralization of the decision making process, reducing impediments to investments, implementing reform programs and initiating the modernization of the national economy and upgrading its competitiveness to the regional and international standards. The book entitled Cambodia Economy: Charting the Course of Brighter Future, A Survey of Progress, Problems and Prospects, written by HE Dr Hang Chuon Naron, Secretary of State, Ministry of Economy and Finance of the Royal Government of Cambodia, provides useful accounts about the current economic landscape and emerging challenges facing Cambodia that has evolved over the years. This book also assesses rigorously the stage-by-stage evolution of all the important economic sectors of the country and the emerging vulnerabilities that the Cambodian economy has experienced since 1993, and as the result of the global economic and financial crisis starting in 2008. It also provides rich analysis of the economic policy making process as well as policy formulation and implementation, and a sharper focus on the priorities which should be addressed for Cambodia’s future competitiveness and sustainable growth. As Cambodia takes its place on the international stage, it also grows more susceptible to the economic shocks affecting the rest of the world. This book will serve as a strong catalyst to help move Cambodia forward smoothly, and to earn its rightful place in the process of economic integration. It also discusses the new risks and new opportunities that Cambodia will face in the future. It is a useful book for businessmen who seek more information in order to do business in Cambodia, or for the general reader who might wish to update himself on the development that has occurred over the past two decades. K. Kesavapany Director, Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore July 2010 Cambodian Economy pg i-xii.indd 11 11/16/11 9:46 AM Cambodian Economy pg i-xii.indd 12 11/16/11 9:46 AM ...


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