|Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen delivers a keynote address during the opening of a conference on 2013 Cambodia Outlook in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Feb. 20, 2013. Cambodia achieved a GDP growth rate of 7.3 percent last year, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Wednesday, forecasting that the growth would be higher than 7 percent this year. (Xinhua/Phearum)
PHNOM PENH, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia achieved a GDP growth rate of 7.3 percent last year, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Wednesday, forecasting that the growth would be higher than 7 percent this year.
Addressing a conference on 2013 Cambodia Outlook, he said the growth last year came from strong growth in agriculture, especially rice production, tourism, real estate and construction combined with strong rise in financial sector, moderate rise in garment exports, and rising public and private investment.
The premier said the country's inflation last year was slightly increased to 2.5 percent and it was projected to be suppressed within 4 percent this year.
According to the government reports, last year, the country produced 9.31 million tons of paddy rice, up 6 percent year-on- year, and the tourism attracted 3.58 million foreign tourists, up 24 percent year-on-year, earning total revenue of about 2.2 billion U.S. dollars.
On the construction side, the sector attracted the investment projects of 2.1 billion U.S. dollars last year, a 72 percent rise year-on-year, while the garment exports made total revenue of 4.6 billion U.S. dollars, up 8 percent.
In terms of investment, the Southeast Asian nation received 157 domestic and foreign investment projects with total investment of 2.28 billion U.S. dollars last year.
"Cambodia is the 15th fastest growing economy in the world during the last ten years," Hun Sen said. "The future outlook for Cambodia is positive, with the projected annual growth of more than 7 percent over the medium term."
The premier said Cambodian GDP per capita was nearly 1,000 U.S. dollars last year and was expected to increase to 1,080 U.S. dollars this year.
"Cambodia has steadily moved towards graduation from a low- income to a lower-middle income country by 2015-2016," he said, adding that poverty rate dropped to 20 percent in 2012 and to an estimated 19 percent in 2013.
Larry Strange, executive director of the Cambodia Development Resource Institute, said that to ensure a long-term GDP growth in the range of 7.5 percent to 8.5 percent, Cambodia will require further substantial upgrading of infrastructure, improvements in the business environment, a huge investment in human capital, credible natural resource management, prudent macro-financial management, and above all continued strengthening of governance and institutions.