With an estimated 14.8 million inhabitants Cambodia is the world’s 70th-most-populous country and was ranked as the 120th largest economy in the world in 2013. Based on The Economist, annual average GDP growth for the period 2001–2010 was 7.7% making it one of the world’s top ten countries with the highest annual average GDP growth, reaching 7.3% in 2013. Though rapidly increasing, GDP is still low compared to other countries.
Agriculture: The agriculture sector dominates the country’s economy, remaining the main source of income for many Cambodians. Rice, fish, timber, and rubber are Cambodia’s major exports. Industry: The garment industry represents the largest portion of Cambodia’s manufacturing sector, accounting for 80% of the country’s exports. The sector operates largely on the final phase of garment production, turning yarns and fabrics into garments, as the country lacks a strong textile manufacturing base. Construction and tourism sectors led as well to foreign investments and international trade.
In 2012 Cambodia’s main export market included US (32.7%), United Kingdom (8.4%), Germany (7.7%), Canada (7.7%), Singapore (6.6%), Vietnam (5.8%), Japan (4.7%)
One of the largest challenges facing Cambodia is the need for a better education system and the lack of a skilled workforce; particularly in the poverty-ridden countryside, which struggles with inadequate basic infrastructure. As of 2013, the Human Development Index (HDI) ranks Cambodia 138th place, making the nation one of the lowest ranking. Fear of renewed political instability and corruption within the government discourage foreign investment. On the 2013 Corruption Perceptions Index, Cambodia was 160 out of 175 countries, making the nation one of the most corrupt in the world and the 2nd most corrupt nation in Asia behind North Korea. The Cambodian garment industry remains vulnerable to global competition due to a lack of adequate infrastructure, labor unrest, the absence of a domestic textile industry, and almost complete dependence on imported textile material and foreign investments, most of export oriented factories being foreign owned. Nonetheless, Cambodia continues to attract investors because of its low wages, plentiful labor, proximity to Asian raw materials, and favorable tax treatment.
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