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Summary of Some Major Events in Cambodia in 2023

2024-01-05
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Summary:Last year, Cambodia has continued to accelerate its development. There have been many major events worthy of being recorded in politics, economy, infrastructure construction, tourism and other aspects.

In the blink of an eye, we have passed the year of 2023 and 2024 has arrived!

Last year, Cambodia has continued to accelerate its development. 

There have been many major events worthy of being recorded in politics, economy, infrastructure construction, tourism and other aspects.

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Cambodia’s Economic Growth Trends 

According to the reports from Cambodian media, H.E Dr. Aun Pornmoniroth, the Minister of Economy and Finance recently said that Cambodia’s economy was expected to grow by 5.6% in 2023, pushing Cambodia’s gross domestic product (GDP) to US$32.17 billion. In 2024, Cambodia's economy is expected to achieve a growth rate of approximately 6.6%, with GDP increasing to US$35.16 billion.

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H.E Dr. Aun Pornmoniroth said the kingdom's GDP per capita was estimated at 1,917 U.S. dollars in 2023 and would rise further to 2,071 U.S. dollars in 2024.

Cambodia's economy mainly relies on garment, footwear and travel goods exports, construction and real estate, tourism and agriculture.

He said that in 2024, the industrial sector, mainly garment and construction, is predicted to surge by 8.5 percent, while the service sector, mainly tourism, transport, telecom, trade and real estate, is expected to increase by 6.9 percent, and agriculture is projected to rise by 1.1 percent. 

He added that the country's inflation is forecast at 2.5 percent in 2024, the same rate as that of 2023, if the price of oil on the international market returns to its normalcy.

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In 2023, Cambodia approved 247 new projects and 21 production expansion projects, of which 71 are endeavors in special economic zones (SEZs), according to the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC). The undertakings represent a total capital investment of $4.9 billion and are expected to generate about 307,000 jobs. 

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Cambodia’s Historic Transfer of Government

- On July 23, Cambodia held its seventh national election vote.

- On August 5, the National Election Committee of Cambodia announced the official results of the ruling Cambodian People's Party won the election with an absolute advantage, winning 120 of the 125 seats in the National Assembly.

- On August 7, King Norodom Sihamoni issued a royal decree officially appointing Hun Manet as the new Prime Minister of Cambodia, with a term of five years.

- On August 21, the first session of the National Assembly for the 7th legislature was held this morning, August 21, 2023, under the highest presidency of His Majesty King Norodom Sihamoni, King of the Kingdom of Cambodia. This first session was chaired by Samdech Akka Moha Ponhea Chakrei Heng Samrin, Senator of the National Assembly, to decide on the validity of the mandate of each member and approve the internal regulations of the 7th legislature. In the afternoon, all validated lawmakers will go and take the oath of office at the Royal Palace.

- On August 22, Hun Sen has officially confirmed that he will not continue to be the Prime Minister of Cambodia and H.E. Dr. Hun Manet his eldest son, will become the new Prime Minister from this day onward.

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After Prime Minister Hun Manet took office, he actively visited various countries to attract investment to Cambodia.

On the morning of September 15, Chinese President Xi Jinping met with Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet, who was in China for an official visit, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

During his visit to China, Prime Minister Hun Manet signed 15 cooperation documents with China, including the “Action Plan on Building a China-Cambodia Community with a Shared Future in the New Era between the People's Republic of China and the Kingdom of Cambodia (2024-2028).”

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On September 21, Prime Minister Hun Manet arrived in New York to attend the opening ceremony of the Cambodia-U.S. Business Forum. 

During the period of his visiting to US, he met with a total of 58 U.S companies, including Boeing, Abbott, Visa, MasterCard, Chevron, Pfizer, etc. 

“Pfizer will come to Cambodia and will work with the Ministry of Health, while a group of other U.S. companies will visit the Kingdom soon to explore the country’s investment potential.” He said

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On October 16, Prime Minister Hun Manet visited Beijing, China, to attend the "Third Belt and Road Forum" for International Cooperation. During the second visit to China, Prime Minister Hun Manet met with  the Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of China, Li Qiang, and presided over the signing ceremony of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Royal Government and the Government on eight important documents. In addition, PM Hun Manet also paid a courtesy call and discussed with representatives of major companies, while attracting a total investment of over $3.6 billion.

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On December 11, Prime Minister Hun Manet arrived in Hanoi, Vietnam for an official visit. During his stay in Vietnam , Hun Manet have held a bilateral meeting with Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh. The two Prime Ministers jointly witnessed the signing of three cooperation documents, and presided over the Cambodia-Viet Nam Trade and Investment Promotion Forum.

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On December 15, Prime Minister Hun Manet set off to attend the ASEAN-Japan Commemorative Summit for the 50th Year of ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation in Tokyo. During this period, PM Hun Manet held a bilateral summit meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Kishida Fumio. Witnessed by the Prime Ministers, Cambodia and Japan signed 7 cooperation documents, including cooperation to promote cross-border QR code payment convenience.

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The Strong Recovery of Tourism Industry

On March 28, the “Visit Cambodia Year 2023 Campaign”, striving to attract at least 4 million international tourists this year.

In the first half of the year, the number of international tourists entering Cambodia reached 2.57 million, a year-on-year increase of 409%.

From January to November 2023, Cambodia welcomed 4.9 million international tourists, equivalent to 84% of the total in 2019.

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The number of international tourists continues to rise, and there is more good news in the month of  September, 2023.

On September 17, Cambodia's Koh Ker Temple archaeological site has been officially added to UNESCO’s World Heritage List, during the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

 As of 2023, UNESCO has designated 4 World Heritage sites in Cambodia, all of which are cultural heritage sites, they are: Angkor Wat (in 1992), Preah Vihear Temple (in 2008), Temple Zone of Sambor Prei Kuk (in 2017), and Koh Ker Temple (in 2023).

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More and more historic sites have been successfully added to the heritage list, which will help increase Cambodia’s visibility and reputation, and also promote cultural heritage protection and sustainable development. It should be mention that after the Koh Ker Temple has been designated as the world heritage sites, the number of foreign tourists received in cambodia increased by 145%.

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* Angkor Wat 


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* Preah Vihear Temple


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* Sambor Prei Kuk Temple


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* Koh Ker Temple


In January of 2024, H.E Sin ChanSerey Vutha, the spokesman for the State Secretariat of Civil Aviation (SSCA) said that that compared with the total number of international passenger flights in 2019 before the Covid-19, Cambodia has resumed nearly 50% of international flights in 2023 (an increase of 45% from 2022). It can be seen that Cambodia’s tourism industry is fully recovering.

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In addition, the government has also formulated the “National Strategic Plan for Tourism Development-NSPTD for 2023-2035”,  which plans to further improve Cambodia's tourism competitiveness through the development of innovative Khmer tourism products, improving the quality and safety of tourism, improving the tourism environment, etc.

In terms of tourism development, Kep has performed well in the emerging coastal tourist destination. The core objective of the “Kep Tourism Development Master Plan 2023-2035” is to bring the not so well-known beachside city to the forefront on par with Siem Reap and Sihanoukville. With the full support of Prime Minister Hun Manet, the Ministry of Tourism plans to transform Kep into a world-class ecotourism destination.

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In 2024, the highlight of Cambodia’s tourism industry will be attracting Chinese tourists.

H.E. Jean-François Tain, Minister Delegate Attached to the Prime Minister in charge of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation expressed optimism about Cambodia’s tourism industry in 2024, believing that a large number of Chinese will come to visit Cambodia.

He point out  that in October 2023, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet and Chinese Premier Li Qiang have agreed to define 2024 as the year of people-to-people exchange to promote tourism and connectivity between the two countries, which means that a large number of Chinese tourists will come to Cambodia in 2024. On the other hand, Siem Reap Angkor International Airport has been officially opened to flights, which will also play a positive role in attracting Chinese tourists.

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Cambodia Successfully Hosted the 32nd SEA Games

From May 5th to 17th, Cambodia successfully hosted the 32nd Southeast Asian Games. This is the first comprehensive sports event in Southeast Asia hosted by Cambodia after 64 years of waiting. It is of great significance to Cambodia.

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In this SEA Games, Cambodian athletes won a total of 81 gold medals, ranking fourth in the gold medal list, which is the highest record since Cambodia participated in the SEA Games. With the slogan “Sport: Live in Peace”, this year 's SEA Games is attended by nearly 10,000 athletes, coaches, referees and officials from 11 countries and regions in Southeast Asia.

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At the same time, the three free benefits of this SEA Games (free entry for the spectators, free accommodation and food for delegates, and free broadcasting rights for media partners) have been highly praised by various countries, allowing the world to know Cambodia and attracting more international tourists to the country.


The Development of Infrastructure Construction

1. Kratie bridge

The Kratie bridge across the Mekong River (under construction) is an inter-provincial expressway connecting Kampong Thom Province and Kratie Province, it’s constructed by Shanghai Construction Group (SCG).

The Bridge is 1,761 meters long and will become the longest bridge built under China’s financial support. The project officially started construction in January 2023.

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2.The Phnom Penh-Bavet Expressway officially startedconstruction

On the morning of June 7, the construction of The Phnom Penh-Bavet Expressway officially started.

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The Phnom Penh-Bavet Expressway is the second expressway in Cambodia, starting from Thmor Kor commune, Lvea Em district, Kandal province to Chrakmtes commune. Bavet City, Svay Rieng Province.

The Phnom Penh-Bavet Expressway is invested and constructed by China Road and Bridge Engineering Co., Ltd, with total length of 135.10 km, 4 lanes for traffic (2 lanes to 2 lanes) and allows all types of vehicles to drive at speeds of up to 100 and 120 km / h. 


3. Siem Reap Angkor International Airport officially opened to flights

On the morning of October 16, the first incoming passenger plane landed on the apron, marking the opening of Siem Reap Angkor International Airport in Cambodia, which was built under the "BOT model (Build-Operation-Transfer)".

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Siem Reap Angkor International Airport located in the Sotr Nikum district, about 40 kilometers from the Angkor Archaeological Park and more than 50 km from Siem Reap provincial town. It is a large-scale international airport focused on by the Cambodian government. It helps protect historical sites, improves the level of local civil aviation transportation infrastructure, further releases demand for air transport capacity, and provides convenience for global tourists to visit Angkor Wat. The airport, which is classified as 4E type, has a runway of 3,600 meters long and 45 meters wide, 38 airports, and a terminal area of more than 80,000 square meters, which can accommodate about 7 million passengers annually in the first phase.


4. Cambodia’s largest deep-water container terminal project begins the Construction

On December 22, the commencement of the first phase of an expansive deep-water container terminal project in Sihanoukville was inaugurated by Prime Minister Samdech Hun Manet and H.E. ISHIBASHI Rintaro, parliamentary vice-minister of land, infrastructure, transport and tourism of Japan. The first phase of the project has an investment of US$243 million, with preferential loans provided by the Japanese government and funds allocated by the Cambodian government.

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New Deep Water Container Terminal: The first step is 350 meters long, and the construction depth is 14.5 meters. The construction period is 36 months and is slated for completion in 2026. Once completed, it will have the capacity to accommodate 60,000 tons (or 4,000 TEUs) of container vessels with transport links in the Asia-Pacific region to the Sihanoukville Autonomous Port, and it is expected to increase the total port capacity to 1,250,000 TEUs per year.


5. Phnom Penh Third Ring Road opened to traffic

On August 3,The Ring Road 3 connecting Phnom Penh and Kandal province was officially inaugurated under the presidency of Samdech Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia and Mr.Wang Wentian, Chinese Ambassador to Cambodia. This was also the last time Hun Sen attended an event as prime minister.

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The Third Ring Road (National Road No. 4-National Road No. 1) is located in Phnom Penh and Kandal Province, with a total length of nearly 53 km, including more than 15 km through Phnom Penh and almost 38 km through Kandal Province, starting from km 14 + 105 of National Road No. 4 and ending at km 24 + 840 of National Road No. 1.

This road will be built in 4 lanes (two lanes to two lanes) with a design speed of 80 kilometers per hour. 

This is a mega project co-funded by the government and China at a total cost of $464 million, of which Chinese government provided a preferential loan of $259 million and the Cambodian government allocated over $200 million. The project was constructed by Shanghai Construction Group (SCG) and the groundbreaking ceremony was held in January 2019.


6. Koh Pich-Koh Norea Bridge officially Inaugurated

On November 15, Prime Minister Hun Manet presided over the inauguration ceremony of the bridge connecting Koh Pich satellite city and Koh Norea satellite city.

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The total length of the bridge is approximately 824 meters with a total cost of about $50 million. The construction started at the end of October 2020 and completed in October 2023. The completion and opening of this cable-stayed bridge  will significantly reduce traffic congestion on National Road No. 1

In addition, the expansion and improvement projects of National Road 7, National Road 33 and National Road 10 are also progressing in an orderly manner.


Looking forward to 2024, there will be more major projects in Cambodia’s infrastructure construction!

1. Phnom Penh-Siem Reap-Poipet Expressway

Phnom Penh-Siem Reap-Poipet Expressway is the third expressway project in Cambodia. The total length of the project is more than 400 kilometers, , passing through six capitals and provinces, including Phnom Penh, Kandal, Kampong Cham, Kampong Thom, Siem Reap, and Banteay Meanchey.

The expressway is expected costs about $4 billion, with an average cost of $10 million per kilometer. The project is currently being carried out by the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) Preliminary Feasibility Study (PSF) and is scheduled to be completed in May 2024.

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2. Funan Techo Canal Project 

Funan Techo Canal is a project that connects the sea to the river, is expected to increase the ability to transport from the provinces along the Tonle Sap and Mekong River to the sea faster. The construction of the new waterway project is estimated to cost $1.7 billion and take about four years to complete.

On October 17, 2023, the Royal Government of Cambodia signed an agreement to allow Chinese companies to study more details on this project before reaching negotiations for the construction agreement, which is the final stage.

The Framework Agreement Signing Ceremony was signed between Deputy Prime Minister Sun Chanthol and representatives of the China Bridge and Road Corporation (CRBC) under the presidency of Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet. The signing of the agreement paved the way for CRBC to study the project in detail for eight months. After eight months of study, negotiations are underway to sign a construction agreement.

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3.The Cambodia-Korea Friendship Bridge

The construction of the Cambodia-Korea Friendship Bridge, which connects the Night Market-Chroy Changvar-Arey Ksat in Phnom Penh, is expected to start construction in 2024 with South Korea providing a preferential loan of US$245 million.

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4. Prek Pra bridge

Prek Pra bridge, a bridge across the Bassac River connecting the area of Chak Angre Krom in Meanchey District and Prek Pra in Chbar Ampov District, is poised to break ground soon as negotiations reach the final stages. The total length of the bridge project is 1,650 meters (of which the bridge body is 845.7 meters long and the bridge head is 804.3 meters long.)

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5. Preah Monivong flyover

Preah Monivong flyover located at the intersection of Monivong Blvd., Samdech Techo Hun Sen Blvd., and Yothapol Khemarak Phoumin Blvd. (Street 271), which is under construction, is also scheduled to be completed about 4 months before the plan. The first phase will be completed before the traditional New Year 2024 (in the project August 2024), and the second phase will be completed before the National New Year 2025 (in the project August 2025). The project was built by Overseas Cambodian Investment Corporation (OCIC) with a budget of $36.775 million.

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Disclaimer: The re-forward articles on Compass website are for the purpose of conveying more information, and it does not mean that the Compass website agrees with its views or confirms the authenticity of its content. Article noted as "Source: Compass original", please note that the source from Compass. The content of the article is for reference only and should not consider as investment advice, and it does not mean that Compass agree with its views.

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