Cambodia, which has shed its status of ‘Sick man of Asia’ is becoming more competitive economically, and the world is starting to notice it.
The 2019 Global Competitiveness Report, which was released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Oct 8, ranked Cambodia 106th out of 141 countries, a not-so-dismal standing for a country that is still recovering from the effects of a brutal and long-running civil war that only ended in the late 1990s.
Cambodia’s latest ranking is a big jump from last year when it ranked 110th out of 190 countries.
The rankings, which the Geneva-based WEF releases annually since 1979, assess the competitiveness of an economy based on 12 ‘pillars’ that include institutions, infrastructure, ICT adoption, macroeconomic stability, health, skills, product market, labour market, financial system, market size, business dynamism, and innovation capability.
According to the report, Cambodia ranked highest in labour market (65th), followed by ICT adoption (71st), macroeconomic stability (75th), market size (84th), and financial system (88th).
Cambodia, meanwhile, ranked lowest in business dynamism (127th), followed by institutions (123rd), skills (120th), product market (113th), infrastructure (106th), health (105th), and innovation capability (102nd).
Frederic Chan, corporate investment and development officer at WS Asia Pacific Co Ltd, told Khmer Times yesterday that the improved rankings are a reflection of Cambodia’s fast-growing economy and investors’ growing confidence in the Kingdom.
In the last five years, Cambodia’s economy has been growing by an average of 7 percent, easily making it one of the fastest-growing economies in Asia, he pointed out.
“There is a wave of investors from China, Japan, and Asean countries coming to Cambodia,” said Mr Chan, noting that low labour cost, young and increasingly educated population, and business-friendly policies make the Kingdom more attractive to these people,” he said.
While European countries dominated the rankings as usual, with six of them in the top 10, it was the turn of Asia to bag the first place, with Singapore dislodging the United States at the top.
After Singapore, rounding up the top ten are (in order) US, Hong Kong, Netherlands, Switzerland, Japan, Germany, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Denmark.
In Southeast Asia, Singapore was followed by Malaysia (27th), Thailand (40th), Indonesia (50th), Philippines (64th), and Vietnam (67th).
Vietnam was notable for having the biggest improvement globally from last year. Cambodia’s neighbour to the east improved by 10 spots after ranking 77th last year.
After Cambodia was Laos, which ranked 113th globally. Myanmar was not included in the survey.