Monday, May 31, 2010

From AFP

Cambodia targets 6 percent annual growth with foreign help

Cambodia's parliament approved a five-year national development plan on Monday aimed at achieving annual growth of six percent, helped by billions of dollars in foreign aid.

The 2009-13 national strategic development plan passed by the national assembly envisages nearly 6.3 billion dollars in financial support over the period.

Written off as a failed state after the disastrous 1975-79 Khmer Rouge regime and decades of civil war, Cambodia used garment exports and tourism to boost its economy.

But despite several years of double-digit growth before the current slump, it remains one of the world's poorest countries.

The government will meet donors from foreign countries and international organisations this week, and they are expected pledge over one billion dollars for the year.

Tuon Thavrak, a director-general at the planning ministry, told reporters the government intended to operate on a budget of 1.2 billion dollars a year.

"We need more than one billion dollars from abroad a year," he said, adding that Cambodia could spend only 200 million dollars a year from its own national budget.

Last year the International Monetary Fund estimated that Cambodia's economy would contract 2.75 percent, while the government optimistically predicted two percent growth. The official 2009 rate is to be released after June.

More than 30 percent of the country's 14 million people live on less than 50 US cents a day.

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