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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 almost 13 years of civil war.


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

Natural Resources

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

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

Khmer (official) 96.3%, other 3.7% (2008 est.)
PHNOM PENH (capital) 1.731 million (2015)
Conventional long form
Kingdom of Cambodia
Conventional short form
Local long form
Preahreacheanachakr Kampuchea (phonetic transliteration)
Local short form
parliamentary constitutional monarchy
Phnom Penh
Geographic coordinates
11 33 N, 104 55 E
Time difference
UTC+7 (12 hours ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction
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 at least 7% since 2011. The tourism, garment, construction and real estate, and agriculture sectors accounted for the bulk of growth. Around 600,000 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 50,000 people in construction. Tourism has continued to grow rapidly with foreign arrivals exceeding 2 million per year since 2007 and reaching around 4.5 million visitors in 2014. Mining also is attracting some investor interest and the government has touted opportunities for mining bauxite, gold, iron and gems.
External debt stocks
US$ 9,318,653,000
Total tax rate (% of commercial profits)
Real Interest Rate
Manufacturing, value added (% of GDP)
Current Account Balance
US$ -1,656,718,571
Labor Force, Total
Employment in Agriculture
Employment in Industry
Employment in Services
Unemployment Rate
Imports of goods and services
US$ 13,144,698,809
Exports of goods and services
US$ 12,266,568,265
Total Merchandise Trade
FDI, net inflows
US$ 1,700,968,602
Commercial Service Exports
US$ 3,713,475,289
rice, rubber, corn, vegetables, cashews, cassava (manioc, tapioca), silk
tourism, garments, construction, rice milling, fishing, wood and wood products, rubber, cement, gem mining, textiles
clothing, timber, rubber, rice, fish, tobacco, footwear
US 23%, UK 8.7%, Germany 8.2%, Japan 7.4%, Canada 6.7%, China 5.1%, Vietnam 5%, Thailand 4.9%, Netherlands 4% (2015)
petroleum products, cigarettes, gold, construction materials, machinery, motor vehicles, pharmaceutical products
Thailand 28.7%, China 22.2%, Vietnam 16.4%, Hong Kong 6.1%, Singapore 5.7% (2015)
Country Risk Rating
A very uncertain political and economic outlook and a business environment with many troublesome weaknesses can have a significant impact on corporate payment behavior. Corporate default probability is high.
Business Climate Rating
The business environment is very difficult. Corporate financial information is rarely available and when available usually unreliable. The legal system makes debt collection very unpredictable. The institutional framework has very serious weaknesses. Intercompany transactions can thus be very difficult to manage in the highly risky environments rated D.
  • Dynamic textile industry and tourism sector with strong potential
  • Potential offshore hydrocarbon reserves (oil and gas)
  • Financial support from bilateral and multilateral donors
  • Regional integration (ASEAN)
  • Considerable share of agriculture in GDP and vulnerability to climate hazards
  • Underdeveloped electricity industry and transport networks
  • Lack of skilled manpower
  • Dependence on Concessional finance due to weak fiscal revenues
  • Significant governance shortcomings
  • High poverty rate

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