PHNOM PENH (Xinhua): Cambodia's economy is projected to rebound by four per cent in 2021 after experiencing a sharp contraction of minus 3.1 per cent last year due to the impact of Covid-19, Economy and Finance Ministry's standing secretary of state Vongsey Vissoth said here on Wednesday (Jan27).
The Southeast Asian country's economy is mainly driven by garment and footwear exports, tourism, construction, and agriculture.
"Growth in all sectors is forecast to bounce back this year after experiencing a recession last year due to the Covid-19," he said at a forum on Cambodia's economic outlook.
Vissoth said the recently-signed Cambodia-China Free Trade Agreement and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) free trade deal will be a key contributor to reboot the kingdom's economic growth.
"These pacts will provide us greater market access when they enter into force," he said.
Meanwhile, he unveiled that the government had prepared a stimulus package of nearly US$700 million to address the economic and social impacts of the Covid-19 in 2021.
Speaking of the economic growth in 2021, Chheang Vannarith, director general of the General Department of Policy at the Ministry of Economy and Finance, said the industrial sector, mainly garment and construction, was projected to grow by 5.9 per cent, service sector (tourism, transport and telecom, trade and real estate) was expected to increase by 3.4 per cent and agriculture was predicted to rise by 1.3 per cent.
He said downside risks to the growth included ongoing spread of the Covid-19, rising protectionism, and uncertainty in trade preferences, among others.
David Freedman, the country economist for the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Cambodia, said the ADB forecasts better growth for Cambodia in 2021, saying that the kingdom's growth would expand by 5.9 per cent.
"For Cambodia, careful lifting of travel restrictions will help to revive tourism and related services," he told Xinhua.
"Although the time frames for re-opening remain somewhat uncertain, the recent progress on vaccine approvals internationally is very encouraging."
In the manufacturing sector, he said the ADB is optimistic about the prospects for a continued recovery in the production of garments, footwear, and apparel, and further growth in the production of travel goods.
"We are also expected to see further growth of agricultural production," Freedman said.