On the auspicious of the 61st Anniversary of the Independence Day of the Kingdom of Cambodia (09/11/1953- 09/11/2014), I would like to extend my warm greetings to Cambodian people in Kuwait. I also take this opportunity to thank Kuwaiti and other friends for their good wishes and greetings. This country is extending such a cordial hospitality to us for which we all are most grateful.
November 9 is the historical day of the declaration of the full independence of Cambodia under the royal crusade and the noble mission of His Majesty Preah Karuna Preah Bat Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk, the Heroic King-Father for Independence, Territorial Integrity and Khmer Unity, to claim independence from the French colonization in 1953.
All Cambodian people always remember in their hearts the compassion and great sympathy of His Majesty Preah Karuna Preah Bat Samdech Preah Norodom Sihanouk, who has physically and mentally sacrificed for the causes of national independence, integrity, happiness and prosperity of the society with priceless achievement until today as well as paving the way for peace, development and solidarity for all people in the country, which Cambodian people have always followed up this noble development path. On this happy occasion, I would like to take this opportunity to highlight the history of Cambodia, the current economic as well as social developments and business opportunities in Cambodia and the good relations between Cambodia and Kuwait as follows:
1- History of Cambodia
After Independence, under the leadership of His Majesty King Norodom Sihanouk, the Government of Cambodia had adopted a policy of neutrality and got support from international community to guarantee Cambodia’s independence, territorial integrity and sovereignty. Cambodia had enjoyed peace and developments in all fields for more than one decade. But the conflict of cold war had huge negative affected to the development of Cambodia and its people since 1970 to 1991.
Under the reconciliation national of Cambodian, all parties in the conflict with the support from the international community, the problem of Cambodia was resolved by the Paris Peace Agreement in 1991. The United Nations was given a mandate to organise peacekeeping operations and held general elections in Cambodia in 1993. It was the first time that nation has enjoyed political stability and started rebuilding its country. Cambodia is a constitutional monarchy and adopts a policy of liberal democracy and pluralism.
The 5th Parliamentary Election that took place on July 28, 2013. The election was conducted in conformity with the principles of democracy, pluralism and the rule of law, which was evaluated by the national and international public opinions as free, fair and peaceful without threats or violence.” The ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CCP) received 48.79% of the votes, earned 68 seats, while the Cambodia National Rescue Party ( CNRP) won 55 seats with 44.45% of the vote.
The Royal Government of Cambodia of the 5th legislature, under the leadership of Samdech Hun Sen, Prime Minister, was established the forth the Rectangular Strategy – Phase Three for Growth, Employment, Equity and Efficiency, which are the agenda of socioeconomic platform , aimed at further leading and developing the Kingdom of Cambodia, and in which the Royal government of Cambodia is to continue the more in-depth implementation of important reforms with the pivot of good governance for combating the corruption and the key to increasing efficiency and effectiveness for the public services, the legal and judicial reform, the public financial reform, the environmental protection.
2- Economic and Social Development in Cambodia
Cambodia’s economy has grown steadily, its national strength has been enhanced considerably. The strong macroeconomic stability and significant improvement in standards of living has been realizing in the Kingdom. The real economic growth has maintained 6.7% on average for last five years (2005 – 2010). Per capita GDP increased from US$ 830 in 2010 to around US$ 1000 in 2014. The Royal Government has prudently implemented monetary and exchange rate policies to manage inflation and macroeconomic stability. Despite the global economic downturn, the Cambodian economy was growth at 7.2 percent in 2012 and it is estimated to grow by 7.5 percent in 2013.
In 2013, the rice production reached 9.3 million tons with a surplus of 4.7 tons for exports. The tourism industry has continued to grow rapidly with foreign arrivals exceeding 2 million per year since 2007 and reaching 4.2 million visitors in 2013, an increase of 17 percent, netting a total revenue of more than US$2.54 billion.
The construction sector is booming in Cambodia. Many foreign investors have been invested in this sector by building of huge towers, business centers and shopping malls. The Royal Government of Cambodia granted construction licenses to some 1,600 projects on the total construction areas of over 7.5 million square meters with the investment costs amounting to nearly US$3 billion. Garment sector is also play an important role for the economic growth in Cambodia.
This field is now in good standing to compete in the world market by improving its labour standards. The volume of exports achieved more than US$ 5 billion while the number of production strength and employers amounted to over 620,000 and labor payments totaled more than US$1 billion a year and over two million people have obtained indirect benefits from this sector. The infrastructure Sector, especially the road, we have so far more than 12,230 kilometers of national and provincial roads, of them 5,596 kilometers or 46 percent were already sealed. There are 14 bridges over big rivers and five others under constructions.
The Royal Government of Cambodia successfully implemented the Rectangular Strategy – Phase II, not only in maintaining peace, security, political stability, social safety, public order, territorial integrity, macroeconomic and financial stability and in overcoming the impacts of flood disasters and the world financial downturn, but also in bringing about the reputations for which the Kingdom of Cambodia was evaluated as the 11th country in the world that achieved a higher economic growth during the last 10 years; was ranked the 5th country among the developing nations that achieved the Millennium Development Goals, and was also ranked the 1st country in the Asia-Pacific region that achieved better progress in improving the indicators of social affairs, especially in reducing the poverty rate by one percent per annum.
3- Business Opportunity in Cambodia
Cambodia will continue to encourage foreign companies to invest and do business in Cambodia. We will create more sectors, market competition and legal protection. Facts will continue to prove for businessman to come in Cambodia is a wise decision to grow their business. Cambodia is a promising and open market with newfound political stability and proven economic growth sustainability. Over recent years, Cambodia has been transformed from a land in crisis to a land of opportunity, and our boom days are just beginning.
Our country offers a competitive investment and opens every economic sector. The significant potential for investment in agriculture and agro-industry, labor-intensive industry, production and processing industry, tourism, and mining. They are all waiting for investment and sustainable development.
The Royal Government of Cambodia makes a new impetus by recently developing Special Economic Zones (SEZ). The SEZs will allow us to streamline administrative procedures, encourage private sector participation in all aspects of SEZ development and operations, and ensure the provision of world-class infrastructure and services. The SEZ development reflects Prime Minister Samdech Hun Sen’s vision of modernization, reform, and private sector-led growth, and also reflects Cambodia’s assertive reform agenda to provide domestic and foreign investors with an attractive investment environment.
Cambodia has so many things to offer investors. The Royal government ensure all investors a peaceful, secure, and stable investment environment. We have macroeconomic, legal, and institutional frameworks with high levels of efficiency, transparency, accountability and predictability. We are confident that we are on the right track and stand ready to welcome and facilitate investment for the mutual benefit of Cambodia and investors.
In this reason, on behalf of Royal Government of Cambodian, I would like to invite Kuwaiti/foreign investors to explore opportunity for cooperation and investment in Cambodia.
4- Cambodia and Kuwait Relations
Diplomatic relations between the two countries were established in 1994 and have been strengthened by a continuing exchange of senior official visits. His Highness Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammad Al-Sabah, Prime Minister of the State of Kuwait visited Cambodia in August 2008 and Samdech Ahkka Moha Techo Hun Sen, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Cambodia paid a return visit to Kuwait in mid January 2009.
These visits had constructively contributed to strengthening relations and led to the signing of a dozen bilateral agreements and Memorandum of Understandings between Cambodia and Kuwait. For realizing the documents have been signed by the two governments, Cambodia and Kuwait will establish the joint commission to work together to promote further cooperation and relations between the two countries and peoples.
The delegation of Kuwait lead by H.E. Vice Minister of commerce visited Cambodia and held meeting with Cambodian counterpart in Phnom Penh on 01 April 2014. In June 2014, Cambodia and Kuwait signed and agreement on visa exemption for holders of diplomatic, special and service passports. This agreement would be put into effect after completing some legal procedures of both countries.
Reference to the agreed minute of the first meeting of the joint trade committee between the Kingdom of Cambodia and the State of Kuwait dated 01 April 2014, H.E. Sun Chanthol, Senior Minister, Minister of Commerce of Cambodia will visit the State of Kuwait in November 2014 for organizing trade fair, business matching and the capacity building workshop on investment opportunity in Cambodia.
For strengthening the mutual diplomatic relations between the two countries, the Embassy of the State of Kuwait was opened in Phnom Penh from 2011 and H.E. Dhirar Nasser Al-Tuwaijri as Ambassador to Cambodia.
As the first of an extraordinary and plenipotentiary Ambassador of the Kingdom of Cambodia to the State of Kuwait, it is my privilege to underline the importance of our valuable mutual relations between Cambodia and Kuwait. Cambodia receives the generous assistance from the Kuwait government and other religious organizations in rebuilding its country infrastructure and social development.
I would like to express my sincere thanks and deepest gratitude to the government and peoples of Kuwait for their generous support for the development of Cambodia and for the valuable and continued assistance rendered to the Royal Embassy of Cambodia in the State of Kuwait. Finally, on this happy occasion, I wish all Cambodian people in Kuwait good health, happiness and prosperity.
I also take this opportunity to wish good health and well-being to His Highness the Amir of the State of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al- Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, His Highness the Crown Prince of Kuwait, Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Jabah, His Highness Sheikh Jaber Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah, the Prime Minister of Kuwait, H.E. Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Sabah, Foreign Minister and the friendly people of the State of Kuwait.
May the relations of friendship and cooperation between Cambodia and Kuwait be further strengthened and developed for the benefits of our two peoples, for peace, stability and prosperity in the region and in the world.