PHNOM PENH, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- Cambodia's economy is expected to grow by 7.2 percent this year, and pick up to 7.5 percent next year, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said.
"Economic activity remains strong driven by robust exports, tourism and construction despite recent floods and some slowdown during the election in July last year," the IMF said in a statement Friday night. "Inflation is expected to remain low this year due to stable food and fuel prices," it said.
The IMF hailed Cambodia for making good progress in achieving the Millennium Development Goals and reducing poverty substantially.
It said continued improvements in human capital, including through education and training, infrastructure, and business climate are needed to promote inclusive and sustainable growth and further reduce poverty and income inequality.
Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said last month that the country's economy is projected to see the annual growth of around 7 percent over the medium term. "In a medium term, we expect that the economy remains robust, driven by construction, garment exports, tourism and agriculture," he said in a business forum.
He said the Southeast Asian nation attracted 4.9 billion U.S. dollars investments in various projects last year, a growth of 69 percent year-on-year.
Since the disputed election in July last year, Cambodia's main opposition party, led by Sam Rainsy, has boycotted parliament and held many protests -- some of them turned violence--in order to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Hun Sen and a re-election.
Hun Sen has said that he would neither step down nor call a re- vote since he was supported by the majority of the voters, appointed by King Norodom Sihamoni and elected by the legitimate National Assembly.
Chheang Vannarith, lecturer of Asia Pacific Studies at the University of Leeds in Britain, said recently that the political dispute could slow down the economy this year if it was still not resolved. "The political crisis in the post-election will have greater impact on economy and investment this year if there is still no political breakthrough," he said.