About Cam­bo­dia

Cambodia FlagCam­bo­dia is four times larger than The Nether­lands and has a monar­chy that goes back to the time of the glo­ri­ous Angkor Wat tem­ples (7001300 AC). His­tory shows that Siam (Thai), Viet­namese, Chi­nese and Khmer (Cam­bo­di­ans) lead­ers searched for power. In 1863 France annexed Cam­bo­dia together with Viet­nam and Laos into Indochina. Agri­cul­ture was and is still very impor­tant to Cam­bo­dia. In the 1950-​ish Cam­bo­dia was called the rice-​barn of Asia.

In the early 1970’s the Viet­nam War spilled over the bor­der into Cam­bo­dia lead­ing to a bloody coup which deposed Sihanouk, then prime min­is­ter. Fol­low­ing a five-​year strug­gle, com­mu­nist Khmer Rouge forces cap­tured the cap­i­tal Phnom Penh in 1975 and ordered the evac­u­a­tion of all cities and towns; over 1 mil­lion dis­placed peo­ple died from exe­cu­tion or enforced hard­ships caus­ing almost the total anni­hi­la­tion of edu­cated peo­ple includ­ing engi­neers, teach­ers and doc­tors. In 1979 the Viet­namese drove the Khmer Rouge into the coun­try­side and sparked off almost 20 years of fight­ing. UN-​sponsored elec­tions in 1993 helped restore some sem­blance of nor­mal­ity, as did the rapid dimin­ish­ment of the Khmer Rouge in the mid-​1990s. A coali­tion gov­ern­ment, formed after national elec­tions in 1998, brought renewed polit­i­cal sta­bil­ity and death of Pol Pot resulted in the sur­ren­der of remain­ing Khmer Rouge forces in the same year.

Cambodia map SE AsiaFrom 2004 to 2008, the econ­omy grew about 10% per year, dri­ven largely by an expan­sion in the gar­ment sec­tor, con­struc­tion, agri­cul­ture, and tourism. GDP con­tracted slightly in 2009 as a result of the global eco­nomic slow­down but climbed more than 6% in 2010 and 6.7 in 2011, dri­ven by tourism and renewed exports.

Gross National Income per capita is accord­ing to the UN US$615 (2009) and the coun­try is placed 185 out of 229 coun­tries world­wide with a GDP of $2,300 (2011 est.) The CIA fact book notes that 31% of Cam­bo­di­ans live under the poverty line of US$1.25 pp/​day.

The 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. More than 50% of the pop­u­la­tion is less than 25 years old. These moti­vated young­sters are fill­ing the class­rooms at uni­ver­si­ties, tech­ni­cal and other voca­tional train­ing schools, for who can afford it. The pop­u­la­tion lacks edu­ca­tion and pro­duc­tive skills, par­tic­u­larly in the poverty-​ridden coun­try­side, which suf­fers from an almost total lack of basic infrastructure.

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Ideas at Work

A Cam­bo­dian social enter­prise that:

  • Brings water and san­i­ta­tion prod­ucts to the Cam­bo­dian rural market;
  • Through an inno­v­a­tive dis­tri­b­u­tion channel;
  • With pro­mo­tion of financ­ing through micro loans;
  • IaW uses a busi­ness approach to full­fill its social goals.

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Loca­tion The Netherlands

Zand­straat 31
5529 AP Cast­eren
Ph: 31 4976 81854

Loca­tion Cambodia

#132 Hanoi Street,
Sen Sok,
Phnom Penh
Ph: 855 12 604348