Golden lion on the Mekong River waterfront in Phnom Penh.
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Introduction

Background

Most Cambodians consider themselves to be Khmers, descendants of the Angkor Empire that extended over much of Southeast Asia and reached its zenith between the 10th and 13th centuries. Attacks by the Thai and Cham (from present-day Vietnam) weakened the empire, ushering in a long period of decline. The king placed the country under French protection in 1863, and it became part of French Indochina in 1887. Following Japanese occupation in World War II, Cambodia gained full independence from France in 1953. In April 1975, after a seven-year struggle, communist Khmer Rouge forces captured Phnom Penh and evacuated all cities and towns. At least 1.5 million Cambodians died from execution, forced hardships, or starvation during the Khmer Rouge regime under POL POT. A December 1978 Vietnamese invasion drove the Khmer Rouge into the countryside, began a 10-year Vietnamese occupation, and touched off 20 years of civil war.

The 1991 Paris Peace Accords mandated democratic elections and a cease-fire, which was not fully respected by the Khmer Rouge. UN-sponsored elections in 1993 helped restore some semblance of normalcy under a coalition government. Factional fighting in 1997 ended the first coalition government, but a second round of national elections in 1998 led to the formation of another coalition government and renewed political stability. The remaining elements of the Khmer Rouge surrendered in early 1999. Some of the surviving Khmer Rouge leaders were tried for crimes against humanity by a hybrid UN-Cambodian tribunal supported by international assistance. In 2018, the tribunal heard its final cases, but it remains in operation to hear appeals. Elections in July 2003 were relatively peaceful, but it took one year of negotiations between contending political parties before a coalition government was formed. In October 2004, King Norodom SIHANOUK abdicated the throne and his son, Prince Norodom SIHAMONI, was selected to succeed him. Local (Commune Council) elections were held in Cambodia in 2012, with little of the violence that preceded prior elections. National elections in July 2013 were disputed, with the opposition - the Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP) - boycotting the National Assembly. The political impasse was ended nearly a year later, with the CNRP agreeing to enter parliament in exchange for commitments by the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) to undertake electoral and legislative reforms. The CNRP made further gains in local commune elections in June 2017, accelerating sitting Prime Minister HUN SEN’s efforts to marginalize the CNRP before national elections in 2018. HUN SEN arrested CNRP President KEM SOKHA in September 2017. The Supreme Court dissolved the CNRP in November 2017 and banned its leaders from participating in politics for at least five years. The CNRP’s seats in the National Assembly were redistributed to smaller, less influential opposition parties, while all of the CNRP’s 5,007 seats in the commune councils throughout the country were reallocated to the CPP. With the CNRP banned, the CPP swept the 2018 national elections, winning all 125 National Assembly seats and effectively turning the country into a one-party state.

Cambodia has strong and growing economic and political ties with its large neighbor to the north, China. More than 53% of foreign investment in the country in 2021 came from China, and Beijing has provided over $15 billion in financial assistance since the 1990s. China accounted for 443 percent of Cambodia’s foreign debt in 2021. The CPP also partly sees Chinese support as a counterbalance to Thailand and Vietnam and to international criticism of the CPP’s human rights and antidemocratic record.

Visit the Definitions and Notes page to view a description of each topic.

Geography

Location

Southeastern Asia, bordering the Gulf of Thailand, between Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos

Geographic coordinates

13 00 N, 105 00 E

Map references

Southeast Asia

Area

total: 181,035 sq km

land: 176,515 sq km

water: 4,520 sq km

country comparison to the world: 90

Area - comparative

one and a half times the size of Pennsylvania; slightly smaller than Oklahoma

Area comparison map
Area comparison map

Land boundaries

total: 2,530 km

border countries (3): Laos 555 km; Thailand 817 km; Vietnam 1158 km

Coastline

443 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

contiguous zone: 24 nm

exclusive economic zone: 200 nm

continental shelf: 200 nm

Climate

tropical; rainy, monsoon season (May to November); dry season (December to April); little seasonal temperature variation

Terrain

mostly low, flat plains; mountains in southwest and north

Elevation

highest point: Phnum Aoral 1,810 m

lowest point: Gulf of Thailand 0 m

mean elevation: 126 m

Natural resources

oil and gas, timber, gemstones, iron ore, manganese, phosphates, hydropower potential, arable land

Land use

agricultural land: 32.1% (2018 est.)

arable land: 22.7% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.9% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 8.5% (2018 est.)

forest: 56.5% (2018 est.)

other: 11.4% (2018 est.)

Irrigated land

3,540 sq km (2012)

Major lakes (area sq km)

Fresh water lake(s): Tonle Sap - 2,700-16,000 sq km

Major rivers (by length in km)

Mekong (shared with China [s], Burma, Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam [m]) - 4,350 km
note – [s] after country name indicates river source; [m] after country name indicates river mouth

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Pacific Ocean drainage: Mekong (805,604 sq km)

Population distribution

population concentrated in the southeast, particularly in and around the capital of Phnom Penh; further distribution is linked closely to the Tonle Sap and Mekong Rivers

Natural hazards

monsoonal rains (June to November); flooding; occasional droughts

Geography - note

a land of paddies and forests dominated by the Mekong River and Tonle Sap (Southeast Asia's largest freshwater lake)

Map description

Cambodia map showing major cities as well as parts of surrounding countries and the Gulf of Thailand.

People and Society

Nationality

noun: Cambodian(s)

adjective: Cambodian

Ethnic groups

Khmer 95.4%, Cham 2.4%, Chinese 1.5%, other 0.7% (2019-20 est.)

Languages

Khmer (official) 95.8%, minority languages 2.9%, Chinese 0.6%, Vietnamese 0.5%, other 0.2% (2019 est.)

major-language sample(s):
សៀវភៅហេតុការណនៅលើពិភពលោក។ ទីតាំងពត៏មានមូលដានគ្រឹះយាងសំខាន់។. (Khmer)

The World Factbook, the indispensable source for basic information.

Khmer audio sample:

Religions

Buddhist (official) 97.1%, Muslim 2%, Christian 0.3%, other 0.5% (2019 est.)

Demographic profile

Cambodia is a predominantly rural country with among the most ethnically and religiously homogenous populations in Southeast Asia: more than 95% of its inhabitants are Khmer and more than 95% are Buddhist.  The population’s size and age structure shrank and then rebounded during the 20th century as a result of conflict and mass death.  During the Khmer Rouge regime between 1975 and 1979 as many as 1.5 to 2 million people are estimated to have been killed or died as a result of starvation, disease, or overwork – a loss of about 25% of the population.  At the same time, emigration was high, and the fertility rate sharply declined.  In the 1980s, after the overthrow of the Khmer Rouge, fertility nearly doubled and reached pre-Khmer Rouge levels of close to 7 children per woman, reflecting in part higher infant survival rates.  The baby boom was followed by a sustained fertility decline starting in the early 1990s, eventually decreasing from 3.8 in 2000 to 2.9 in 2010, although the rate varied by income, education, and rural versus urban location.  Despite continuing fertility reduction, Cambodia still has a youthful population that is likely to maintain population growth through population momentum. Improvements have also been made in mortality, life expectancy, and contraceptive prevalence, although reducing malnutrition among children remains stalled.  Differences in health indicators are pronounced between urban and rural areas, which experience greater poverty.

Cambodia is predominantly a country of migration, driven by the search for work, education, or marriage.  Internal migration is more prevalent than international migration, with rural to urban migration being the most common, followed by rural to rural migration.  Urban migration focuses on the pursuit of unskilled or semi-skilled jobs in Phnom Penh, with men working mainly in the construction industry and women working in garment factories.  Most Cambodians who migrate abroad do so illegally using brokers because it is cheaper and faster than through formal channels, but doing so puts them at risk of being trafficked for forced labor or sexual exploitation.  Young Cambodian men and women migrate short distances across the Thai border using temporary passes to work in agriculture, while others migrate long distances primarily into Thailand and Malaysia for work in agriculture, fishing, construction, manufacturing, and domestic service.  Cambodia was a refugee sending country in the 1970s and 1980s as a result of the brutality of the Khmer Rouge regime, its ousting by the Vietnamese invasion, and the resultant civil war.  Tens of thousands of Cambodians fled to Thailand; more than 100,000 were resettled in the US in the 1980s.  Cambodia signed a multi-million dollar agreement with Australia in 2014 to voluntarily resettle refugees seeking shelter in Australia.  However, the deal has proven to be a failure because of poor conditions and a lack of support services for the few refugees willing to accept the offer.

Age structure

0-14 years: 30.18% (male 2,582,427/female 2,525,619)

15-24 years: 17.28% (male 1,452,784/female 1,472,769)

25-54 years: 41.51% (male 3,442,051/female 3,584,592)

55-64 years: 6.44% (male 476,561/female 612,706)

65 years and over: 4.59% (2020 est.) (male 287,021/female 490,454)

2022 population pyramid
2022 population pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 55.7

youth dependency ratio: 48.2

elderly dependency ratio: 7.6

potential support ratio: 13.2 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 26.4 years

male: 25.6 years

female: 27.2 years (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 153

Birth rate

19.29 births/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 73

Death rate

5.76 deaths/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 171

Net migration rate

-2.7 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 175

Population distribution

population concentrated in the southeast, particularly in and around the capital of Phnom Penh; further distribution is linked closely to the Tonle Sap and Mekong Rivers

Urbanization

urban population: 25.1% of total population (2022)

rate of urbanization: 3.06% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Major urban areas - population

2.211 million PHNOM PENH (capital) (2022)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.02 male(s)/female

15-24 years: 0.97 male(s)/female

25-54 years: 0.94 male(s)/female

55-64 years: 0.81 male(s)/female

65 years and over: 0.51 male(s)/female

total population: 0.94 male(s)/female (2022 est.)

Mother's mean age at first birth

22.4 years (2014 est.)

note: median age at first birth among women 25-49

Maternal mortality ratio

160 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

country comparison to the world: 55

Infant mortality rate

total: 29.58 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 33.13 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 25.87 deaths/1,000 live births (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 54

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 70.65 years

male: 68.79 years

female: 72.59 years (2022 est.)

country comparison to the world: 168

Drinking water source

improved: urban: 99.3% of population

rural: 80.6% of population

total: 85.1% of population

unimproved: urban: 0.7% of population

rural: 19.4% of population

total: 14.9% of population (2020 est.)

Physicians density

0.19 physicians/1,000 population (2014)

Hospital bed density

1.9 beds/1,000 population (2016)

Sanitation facility access

improved: urban: 100% of population

rural: 69.3% of population

total: 76.8% of population

unimproved: urban: 0% of population

rural: 30.7% of population

total: 23.2% of population (2020 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, and malaria

Alcohol consumption per capita

total: 4.56 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

beer: 4.12 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

wine: 0.03 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

spirits: 0.41 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

other alcohols: 0 liters of pure alcohol (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 87

Tobacco use

total: 21.1% (2020 est.)

male: 36.1% (2020 est.)

female: 6% (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 78

Literacy

definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 80.5%

male: 86.5%

female: 75% (2015)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 11 years

male: 11 years

female: 10 years

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 2.5%

male: 2.7%

female: 2.3% (2019 est.)

Environment

Environment - current issues

illegal logging activities throughout the country and strip mining for gems in the western region along the border with Thailand have resulted in habitat loss and declining biodiversity (in particular, destruction of mangrove swamps threatens natural fisheries); soil erosion; in rural areas, most of the population does not have access to potable water; declining fish stocks because of illegal fishing and overfishing; coastal ecosystems choked by sediment washed loose from deforested areas inland

Environment - international agreements

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Climate Change-Paris Agreement, Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 2006, Wetlands, Whaling

signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea

Air pollutants

particulate matter emissions: 23.98 micrograms per cubic meter (2016 est.)

carbon dioxide emissions: 9.92 megatons (2016 est.)

methane emissions: 14.88 megatons (2020 est.)

Climate

tropical; rainy, monsoon season (May to November); dry season (December to April); little seasonal temperature variation

Land use

agricultural land: 32.1% (2018 est.)

arable land: 22.7% (2018 est.)

permanent crops: 0.9% (2018 est.)

permanent pasture: 8.5% (2018 est.)

forest: 56.5% (2018 est.)

other: 11.4% (2018 est.)

Urbanization

urban population: 25.1% of total population (2022)

rate of urbanization: 3.06% annual rate of change (2020-25 est.)

Revenue from coal

coal revenues: 0% of GDP (2018 est.)

country comparison to the world: 74

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: very high (2020)

food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever

vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, and malaria

Waste and recycling

municipal solid waste generated annually: 1.089 million tons (2014 est.)

Major lakes (area sq km)

Fresh water lake(s): Tonle Sap - 2,700-16,000 sq km

Major rivers (by length in km)

Mekong (shared with China [s], Burma, Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam [m]) - 4,350 km
note – [s] after country name indicates river source; [m] after country name indicates river mouth

Major watersheds (area sq km)

Pacific Ocean drainage: Mekong (805,604 sq km)

Total water withdrawal

municipal: 98 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

industrial: 33 million cubic meters (2017 est.)

agricultural: 2.053 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

Total renewable water resources

476.1 billion cubic meters (2017 est.)

Government

Country name

conventional long form: Kingdom of Cambodia

conventional short form: Cambodia

local long form: Preahreacheanachakr Kampuchea (phonetic transliteration)

local short form: Kampuchea

former: Khmer Republic, Democratic Kampuchea, People's Republic of Kampuchea, State of Cambodia

etymology: the English name Cambodia is an anglicization of the French Cambodge, which is the French transliteration of the native name Kampuchea

Government type

parliamentary constitutional monarchy

Capital

name: Phnom Penh

geographic coordinates: 11 33 N, 104 55 E

time difference: UTC+7 (12 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: Phnom Penh translates as "Penh's Hill" in Khmer; the city takes its name from the present Wat Phnom (Hill Temple), the tallest religious structure in the city, whose establishment, according to legend, was inspired in the 14th century by a pious nun, Daun PENH

Administrative divisions

24 provinces (khett, singular and plural) and 1 municipality (krong, singular and plural)

provinces: Banteay Meanchey, Battambang, Kampong Cham, Kampong Chhnang, Kampong Speu, Kampong Thom, Kampot, Kandal, Kep, Koh Kong, Kratie, Mondolkiri, Oddar Meanchey, Pailin, Preah Sihanouk, Preah Vihear, Prey Veng, Pursat, Ratanakiri, Siem Reap, Stung Treng, Svay Rieng, Takeo, Tbong Khmum

municipalities: Phnom Penh (Phnum Penh)

Independence

9 November 1953 (from France)

National holiday

Independence Day, 9 November (1953)

Constitution

history: previous 1947; latest promulgated 21 September 1993

amendments: proposed by the monarch, by the prime minister, or by the president of the National Assembly if supported by one fourth of the Assembly membership; passage requires two-thirds majority of the Assembly membership; constitutional articles on the multiparty democratic form of government and the monarchy cannot be amended; amended 1999, 2008, 2014, 2018, and 2021

Legal system

civil law system (influenced by the UN Transitional Authority in Cambodia) customary law, Communist legal theory, and common law

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction

Citizenship

citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Cambodia

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 7 years

Suffrage

18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: King Norodom SIHAMONI (since 29 October 2004)

head of government: Prime Minister HUN SEN (since 14 January 1985)

cabinet: Council of Ministers named by the prime minister and appointed by the monarch

elections/appointments: monarch chosen by the 9-member Royal Council of the Throne from among all eligible males of royal descent; following legislative elections, a member of the majority party or majority coalition named prime minister by the Chairman of the National Assembly and appointed by the monarch

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliament of Cambodia consists of:
Senate (62 seats; 58 indirectly elected by parliamentarians and commune councils, 2 indirectly elected by the National Assembly, and 2 appointed by the monarch; members serve 6-year terms)
National Assembly (125 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote; members serve 5-year terms)

elections:
Senate - last held on 25 February 2018 (next to be held in 2024); National Assembly - last held on 29 July 2018 (next to be held in July 2023)

election results:  
Senate - percent of vote by party - CPP 96%, FUNCINPEC 2.4%, KNUP 1.6%; seats by party - CPP 58; composition - men 53, women 9, percent of women 14.5%
National Assembly - percent of vote by party - CPP 76.9%, FUNCINPEC 5.9%, LDP 4.9%, Khmer Will Party 3.4%, other 8.9%; seats by party - CPP 125; composition - men 100, women 25, percent of women 20%; note - total Parliament of Cambodia percent of women 18.2%

Judicial branch

highest courts: Supreme Council (organized into 5- and 9-judge panels and includes a court chief and deputy chief); Constitutional Court (consists of 9 members); note - in 1997, the Cambodian Government requested UN assistance in establishing trials to prosecute former Khmer Rouge senior leaders for crimes against humanity committed during the 1975-1979 Khmer Rouge regime; the Extraordinary Chambers of the Courts of Cambodia (also called the Khmer Rouge Tribunal) was established in 2006 and began hearings for the first case in 2009; court proceedings remain ongoing in 2021

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court and Constitutional Council judge candidates recommended by the Supreme Council of Magistracy, a 17-member body chaired by the monarch and includes other high-level judicial officers; judges of both courts appointed by the monarch; Supreme Court judges appointed for life; Constitutional Council judges appointed for 9-year terms with one-third of the court renewed every 3 years

subordinate courts: Appellate Court; provincial and municipal courts; Military Court

Political parties and leaders

Cambodian People's Party or CPP [HUN SEN]
National United Front for Independent, Neutral, Peaceful, and Cooperative Cambodia or FUNCINPEC [Prince NORODOM CHAKRAVUTH]
League for Democracy Party or LDP [KHEM Veasna]
Khmer Will Party [KONG MONIKA]
Khmer National Unity Party or KNUP (an offshoot of FUNCINPEC) [NHEK BUN CHHAY]
Candlelight Party or CP (the latest incarnation of the Sam Rainsy Party or SRP and the former Human Rights Party or HRP, which joined to form the Cambodia National Rescue Party or CNRP in 2012; the CNRP was dissolved in 2017)

Other minor parties that registered for the 2022 commune-level elections included: Cambodia National Love Party, Cambodia Nationality Party, Cambodian Youth Party, Cambodia Reform Party, Kampucheaniyum Party, Grassroots Democratic Party, Khmer United Party, Beehive Social Democratic Party, Cambodia Indigenous People's Democracy Party, Ekpheap Cheat Khmer Party, Reaksmey Khemara Party, Khmer Economic Development Party (2022)

note(s): following the 2017 commune election, the CPP-led government arrested the CNRP president Kem SOKHA for treason, dissolved the party on similar grounds, and forced most of its senior leadership into exile, where the party’s former president, Sam RAINSY, had been living since late 2015; as of March 2022, a total of 17 political parties had registered to run in the June 2022 commune-level elections, and opposition parties, particularly the Candlelight Party, continued to report, intimidation, harassment, and arrests by the Cambodian Government

International organization participation

ADB, ARF, ASEAN, CICA, EAS, FAO, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICRM, IDA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITU, MINUSMA, MIGA, NAM, OIF, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNAMID, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNIFIL, UNISFA, UNMISS, UNWTO, UPU, WCO, WFTU (NGOs), WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador KEO Chhea (since 19 April 2022)

chancery: 4530 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20011

telephone: [1] (202) 726-7742

FAX: [1] (202) 726-8381

email address and website:
camemb.usa@mfaic.gov

https://www.embassyofcambodiadc.org/

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador W. Patrick MURPHY (since 23 October 2019)

embassy: #1, Street 96, Sangkat Wat Phnom, Khan Daun Penh, Phnom Penh

mailing address: 4540 Phnom Penh Place, Washington DC  20521-4540

telephone: [855] (23) 728-000

FAX: [855] (23) 728-700

email address and website:
ACSPhnomPenh@state.gov

https://kh.usembassy.gov/

Flag description

three horizontal bands of blue (top), red (double width), and blue with a white, three-towered temple, representing Angkor Wat, outlined in black in the center of the red band; red and blue are traditional Cambodian colors

note: only national flag to prominently incorporate an actual identifiable building into its design (a few other national flags - those of Afghanistan, San Marino, Portugal, and Spain - show small generic buildings as part of their coats of arms on the flag)

National symbol(s)

Angkor Wat temple, kouprey (wild ox); national colors: red, blue

National anthem

name: "Nokoreach" (Royal Kingdom)

lyrics/music: CHUON NAT/F. PERRUCHOT and J. JEKYLL

note: adopted 1941, restored 1993; the anthem, based on a Cambodian folk tune, was restored after the defeat of the Communist regime

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 3 (all cultural)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Angkor; Temple of Preah Vihear; Sambor Prei Kuk

Economy

Economic overview

Cambodia has experienced strong economic growth over the last decade; GDP grew at an average annual rate of over 8% between 2000 and 2010 and about 7% since 2011. The tourism, garment, construction and real estate, and agriculture sectors accounted for the bulk of growth. Around 700,000 people, the majority of whom are women, are employed in the garment and footwear sector. An additional 500,000 Cambodians are employed in the tourism sector, and a further 200,000 people in construction. Tourism has continued to grow rapidly with foreign arrivals exceeding 2 million per year in 2007 and reaching 5.6 million visitors in 2017. Mining also is attracting some investor interest and the government has touted opportunities for mining bauxite, gold, iron and gems.

 

Still, Cambodia remains one of the poorest countries in Asia, and long-term economic development remains a daunting challenge, inhibited by corruption, limited human resources, high income inequality, and poor job prospects. According to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the percentage of the population living in poverty decreased to 13.5% in 2016. More than 50% of the population is less than 25 years old. The population lacks education and productive skills, particularly in the impoverished countryside, which also lacks basic infrastructure.

 

The World Bank in 2016 formally reclassified Cambodia as a lower middle-income country as a result of continued rapid economic growth over the past several years. Cambodia’s graduation from a low-income country will reduce its eligibility for foreign assistance and will challenge the government to seek new sources of financing. The Cambodian Government has been working with bilateral and multilateral donors, including the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank and IMF, to address the country's many pressing needs; more than 20% of the government budget will come from donor assistance in 2018. A major economic challenge for Cambodia over the next decade will be fashioning an economic environment in which the private sector can create enough jobs to handle Cambodia's demographic imbalance.

 

Textile exports, which accounted for 68% of total exports in 2017, have driven much of Cambodia’s growth over the past several years. The textile sector relies on exports to the United States and European Union, and Cambodia’s dependence on its comparative advantage in textile production is a key vulnerability for the economy, especially because Cambodia has continued to run a current account deficit above 9% of GDP since 2014.

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$70.08 billion (2020 est.)

$72.36 billion (2019 est.)

$67.59 billion (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 102

Real GDP growth rate

6.9% (2017 est.)

7% (2016 est.)

7% (2015 est.)

country comparison to the world: 18

Real GDP per capita

$4,200 (2020 est.)

$4,400 (2019 est.)

$4,200 (2018 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

country comparison to the world: 180

GDP (official exchange rate)

$22.09 billion (2017 est.)

Credit ratings

Moody's rating: B2 (2007)

Standard & Poors rating: N/A (2014)

GDP - composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 25.3% (2017 est.)

industry: 32.8% (2017 est.)

services: 41.9% (2017 est.)

GDP - composition, by end use

household consumption: 76% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 5.4% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 21.8% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 1.2% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 68.6% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -73% (2017 est.)

Agricultural products

cassava, rice, maize, vegetables, sugar cane, soybeans, rubber, oil palm fruit, bananas, pork

Industries

tourism, garments, construction, rice milling, fishing, wood and wood products, rubber, cement, gem mining, textiles

Labor force - by occupation

agriculture: 48.7%

industry: 19.9%

services: 31.5% (2013 est.)

Unemployment rate

0.3% (2017 est.)

0.2% (2016 est.)

note: high underemployment, according to official statistics

country comparison to the world: 2

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 2.5%

male: 2.7%

female: 2.3% (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 178

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2%

highest 10%: 28% (2013 est.)

Budget

revenues: 3.947 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 4.354 billion (2017 est.)

Public debt

30.4% of GDP (2017 est.)

29.1% of GDP (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 165

Fiscal year

calendar year

Current account balance

-$1.871 billion (2017 est.)

-$1.731 billion (2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 165

Exports

$19.4 billion (2020 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$21.07 billion (2019 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$18.41 billion (2018 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

country comparison to the world: 84

Exports - partners

United States 21%, Singapore 8%, Thailand 8%, Germany 7%, Japan 6%, China 5%, Canada 5%, United Kingdom 5% (2019)

Exports - commodities

clothing, precious metal scraps, trunks/cases, gold, leather footwear (2019)

Imports

$23.12 billion (2020 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$25.52 billion (2019 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

$21.86 billion (2018 est.) note: data are in current year dollars

country comparison to the world: 77

Imports - partners

China 27%, Thailand 25%, Vietnam 15%, Singapore 8% (2019)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, clothing, gold, cars, flavored water (2019)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$12.2 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$9.122 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 69

Debt - external

$11.87 billion (31 December 2017 est.)

$10.3 billion (31 December 2016 est.)

country comparison to the world: 108

Exchange rates

riels (KHR) per US dollar -

4,055 (2017 est.)

4,058.7 (2016 est.)

4,058.7 (2015 est.)

4,067.8 (2014 est.)

4,037.5 (2013 est.)

Energy

Electricity access

electrification - total population: 75% (2019)

electrification - urban areas: 100% (2019)

electrification - rural areas: 67% (2019)

Electricity

installed generating capacity: 2.954 million kW (2020 est.)

consumption: 10,288,340,000 kWh (2019 est.)

exports: 0 kWh (2019 est.)

imports: 3.063 billion kWh (2019 est.)

transmission/distribution losses: 1.187 billion kWh (2019 est.)

Electricity generation sources

fossil fuels: 52% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

nuclear: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

solar: 1.2% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

wind: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

hydroelectricity: 45.6% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

tide and wave: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

geothermal: 0% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

biomass and waste: 1.2% of total installed capacity (2020 est.)

Coal

production: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

consumption: 2.974 million metric tons (2020 est.)

exports: 0 metric tons (2020 est.)

imports: 3.311 million metric tons (2020 est.)

proven reserves: 0 metric tons (2019 est.)

Petroleum

total petroleum production: 0 bbl/day (2021 est.)

refined petroleum consumption: 64,100 bbl/day (2019 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate exports: 0 barrels/day (2018 est.)

crude oil and lease condensate imports: 0 barrels/day (2018 est.)

crude oil estimated reserves: 0 barrels (2021 est.)

Natural gas

production: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

consumption: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

exports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

imports: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

proven reserves: 0 cubic meters (2021 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions

13.844 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from coal and metallurgical coke: 4.837 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from petroleum and other liquids: 9.007 million metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

from consumed natural gas: 0 metric tonnes of CO2 (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 98

Communications

Telephones - fixed lines

total subscriptions: 55,603 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: (2020 est.) less than 1

country comparison to the world: 155

Telephones - mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 21,086,791 (2020 est.)

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 126 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 59

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: Cambodia’s mobile-dominated telecoms sector spent much of 2020 battling two major challenges: the global pandemic, and the government’s retraction of trial licenses for the rollout of 5G; citing concerns about waste and inefficiency occurring if each operator built a separate 5G infrastructure in order to maximize their own network’s coverage (and, presumably, to capture greater market share), the regulator withdrew the licenses that the operators had been using for their 5G trials; this was despite all of the operators having already announced a successful completion of their trials; more than a year later, the market is still waiting on the government to release its 5G policy and roadmap, along with the allocation of spectrum and approvals to permit commercial operation; there is little expectation of any further progress happening before the start of 2022; the mobile network operators have maintained their focus and investment strategies on upgrading and expanding their existing LTE networks around the country, and to 5G-enable their base stations; when the 5G market eventually arrives, the underlying infrastructure will at least be ready to support a rapid adoption of the higher-value applications and services; the mobile market fell back slightly during 2020 and 2021 (in terms of total subscriber numbers) as the Covid-19 crisis wore on, but it remains in relatively good health as mobile users increased their data usage over the period; the mobile broadband market experienced a small but very rare contraction in 2020, although rates were already very high in this area; there is likely to be a quick rebound to previous levels once economic conditions stabilize, followed by a modest rates of growth over the next five years; the number of fixed telephony lines in service continues to fall sharply as customers migrate to mobile platforms for both voice and data; the lack of any widespread fixed-line infrastructure has had a flow-on effect in the fixed-line broadband market, a sector that also remains largely under-developed (2021)

domestic: fixed-line connections stand at less than 1 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular usage, aided by competition among service providers, is about 130 per 100 persons (2020)

international: country code - 855; landing points for MCT and AAE-1 via submarine cables providing communication to Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa; satellite earth station - 1 Intersputnik (Indian Ocean region) (2019)

note: the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally; since 2020, some aspects of the telecom sector have experienced a downturn, particularly in mobile device production; progress towards 5G implementation has resumed, as well as upgrades to infrastructure; consumer spending on telecom services has increased due to the surge in demand for capacity and bandwidth; the crucial nature of telecom services as a tool for work and school from home is still evident, and the spike in this area has seen growth opportunities for development of new tools and increased services

Broadcast media

mixture of state-owned, joint public-private, and privately owned broadcast media; 27 TV broadcast stations with most operating on multiple channels, including 1 state-operated station broadcasting from multiple locations, 11 stations either jointly operated or privately owned with some broadcasting from several locations; multi-channel cable and satellite systems are available (2019); 84 radio broadcast stations - 1 state-owned broadcaster with multiple stations and a large mixture of public and private broadcasters; one international broadcaster is available (2019) as well as one Chinese joint venture television station with the Ministry of Interior; several television and radio operators broadcast online only (often via Facebook) (2019)

Internet users

total: 5,440,559 (2019 est.)

percent of population: 33% (2019 est.)

country comparison to the world: 84

Broadband - fixed subscriptions

total: 233,732 (2020 est.) Slowly increase as focus is on mobile internet

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 1 (2020 est.)

country comparison to the world: 114

Transportation

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 6 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 25

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 1,411,059 (2018)

annual freight traffic on registered air carriers: 680,000 (2018) mt-km

Airports - with paved runways

total: 6

2,438 to 3,047 m: 3

1,524 to 2,437 m: 2

914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2021)

Airports - with unpaved runways

total: 10

1,524 to 2,437 m: 2

914 to 1,523 m: 7

under 914 m: 1 (2021)

Heliports

1 (2021)

Railways

total: 642 km (2014)

narrow gauge: 642 km (2014) 1.000-m gauge

note: under restoration

country comparison to the world: 107

Roadways

total: 47,263 km (2013)

paved: 12,239 km (2013)

unpaved: 35,024 km (2013)

country comparison to the world: 83

Waterways

3,700 km (2012) (mainly on Mekong River)

country comparison to the world: 30

Merchant marine

total: 245

by type: container ship 2, general cargo 162, oil tanker 18, other 63 (2021)

country comparison to the world: 60

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Sihanoukville (Kampong Saom)

river port(s): Phnom Penh (Mekong)

Military and Security

Military and security forces

Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF): Royal Cambodian Army, Royal Khmer Navy, Royal Cambodian Air Force, Royal Gendarmerie; the National Committee for Maritime Security (performs Coast Guard functions and has representation from military and civilian agencies); Ministry of Interior: Cambodian National Police (2022)

Military expenditures

2.5% of GDP (2021 est.)

2.5% of GDP (2020 est.)

2.2% of GDP (2019 est.) (approximately $1.2 billion)

2.2% of GDP (2018 est.) (approximately $1.13 billion)

2.1% of GDP (2017 est.) (approximately $1.02 billion)

country comparison to the world: 38

Military and security service personnel strengths

information varies; approximately 110,000 total active troops including about 3,000 Navy and 1,000 Air Force; approximately 10,000 Gendarmerie (2022)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the RCAF is armed largely with older Chinese and Russian-origin equipment; since 2010, it has received limited amounts of more modern equipment from a variety of suppliers, particularly China (2022)

note: in December 2021, the US Government halted arms-related trade with Cambodia, citing deepening Chinese military influence, corruption, and human rights abuses by the government and armed forces; the policy of denial applied to licenses or other approvals for exports and imports of defense articles and defense services destined for or originating in Cambodia, with exceptions (on a case-by-case basis) related to conventional weapons destruction and humanitarian demining activities

Military service age and obligation

18 is the legal minimum age for compulsory and voluntary military service (conscription only selectively enforced since 1993); women may volunteer (2021)

note: in 2018, women made up an estimated 6% of the active duty military and 88 women held the rank of general 

Military deployments

225 Central African Republic (MINUSCA); 180 Lebanon (UNIFIL); 290 Mali (MINUSMA) (May 2022)

Military - note

the Royal Cambodian Armed Forces (RCAF) was re-established in 1993 under the first coalition government from the merger of the Cambodian Government’s military forces (Cambodian People’s Armed Forces) and the two non-communist resistance forces (Sihanoukist National Army, aka National Army for Khmer Independence, and the Khmer People's National Liberation Armed Forces); thousands of communist Khmer Rouge fighters began surrendering by 1994 under a government amnesty program and the last of the Khmer Rouge forces (National Army of Democratic Kampuchea) were demobilized or absorbed into the RCAF in 1999 (2022)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international

Cambodia-Laos: Cambodia is concerned that Laos' extensive upstream dam construction will affect Cambodian waters downstream

Cambodia-Thailand: Cambodia and Thailand have agreed to maintain peace along the border regardless of the decision of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over territorial dispute near Cambodia's Preah Vihear Temple; the ICJ decision of 11 November 2013 determined that Cambodia had sovereignty over the whole territory of the promontory of Preah Vihear; the border disputes do not involve large amounts of territory, and most of the issues were settled by the Nov. 11, 2013 ICJ ruling

Cambodia-Vietnam: issues include casinos built in Cambodia near the border (gambling and prostitution); narcotics (criminals, crime, and abuse); trafficking of women and children, petrol smuggling into Cambodia from Vietnam, illegal logging, and illegal migration; a positive development is the special economic Zone in Bavet, Svay Rieng Province, Cambodia that is being developed by the Manhattan (Svay Rieng) International Group of Taiwan

Refugees and internally displaced persons

stateless persons: 57,444 (mid-year 2021)

Trafficking in persons

current situation: human traffickers exploit Cambodian men, women, and children in forced labor and sex trafficking in Cambodia and abroad, and foreign nationals are trafficked in Cambodia; Cambodian adults and children migrate to other countries in the region or increasingly to the Middle East where traffickers force them to work in agriculture, fishing, construction, manufacturing, and domestic servitude; significant numbers of Cambodian men and boys are subject to forced labor on Thai ships in international waters and may experience physical abuse, nonpayment or underpayment of wages, and confinement at sea for years; brick kiln owners exploit thousands of Cambodians, including children, through debt-based coercion; children from poor families are vulnerable to forced labor, often with the complicity of their parents, in domestic servitude, forced begging, or street vending in Thailand and Vietnam; Cambodian and ethnic Vietnamese women and girls from rural areas move to cities and tourist areas where they are sex trafficked

tier rating: Tier 2 Watch List — Cambodia does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking but is making significant efforts to do so; authorities continued to prosecute and convict traffickers and utilized new victim identification and data collection technologies; the government enacted a five-year national action plan to combat human trafficking; however, corruption continued to impede law enforcement efforts, criminal proceedings, and services to victims; some corrupt officials may have profited directly from sex and labor trafficking or accepted bribes to dismiss charges or reduce sentences; insufficient judicial monitoring systems enabled suspected traffickers to flee before trial; authorities failed to issue formal guidance allowing the use of undercover techniques in anti-trafficking investigations (2020)

Illicit drugs

manufacture of methamphetamine expanding due to  transnational crime syndicates moving from China to evade the law; drugs destined for Australia, Japan, New Zealand and the Republic of Korea and the rest of East and South-East Asia

(2021)