Cambodia Profile

Angkor Wat UNESCO Heritage Site

Angkor Wat UNESCO Heritage Site

One of the southernmost countries on mainland Southeast Asia, Cambodia is located on the Gulf of Thailand between Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos. The majority of the population, a little over 15 million, practice Buddhism. With over half the population working in the agriculture sector, Cambodia is the poorest country in the region. Its recent history has also perhaps been the most turbulent in the region.  With a long and arduous political history, Cambodia has finally reached a stage of relative peace. It has made major advances in terms of industry, education, poverty alleviation and health care.

Despite these improvements the country still faces a set of major challenges to development. A large portion of the population lives in the countryside where infrastructure is basically non-existent. Its people suffer from chronic poverty, which in turn has led to chronic malnutrition for its children and an education system that is severely lacking. Cambodia’s future development is impeded by these very real problems, as well as the role of China in the Greater Mekong Sub region. The effects of China’s damming on the downstream countries of the Mekong are not yet fully known, but it is certain that they will be substantial and significant. Cambodia currently faces a future of uncertainties in terms of development and the continuation of its people’s ways of life.

Click on the links below to access further analysis on Cambodia.

Cambodian Politics                             

Economic Overview

Foreign Trade Relations                       

Link to Economic Data

China-Cambodia Relations                   

Corruption in Cambodia

Link to Environment and Resource Use Data



Basic Country Report Written by Allie Horick, November 2013.  Additions contributed by Theresa Jacobs in April 2014.

Sources Cited

“Cambodia .” 2013 Index of Economic Freedom. The Heritage Foundation , 2013. Web. 18 Oct 2013.

“Cambodia .” Asian Development Bank. Asian Development Bank, 2013. Web. 18 Oct 2013.

“Cambodia Economy Profile 2013.” Index Mundi . N.p., 21 02 2013. Web. 18 Oct 2013.

“Cambodia’s Fish and Mekong Dams: Can they Co-Exist?.” The Asia Foundation . The Asia Foundation , 09 02 2011. Web. 17 Oct 2013.

Cambodia. Ministry of Planning. Cambodian Millenium Development Goals. 2006. Web.

“Cambodia Profile.” BBC News. BBC, 24 09 2013. Web. 18 Oct 2013

“Data.” The World Bank. The World Bank, 2012. Web. 18 Oct 2013.

“Developments in Cambodia .” Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA). SIDA, 14 05 2013. Web. 18 Oct 2013

“GINI Index in Cambodia .” Trading Economics . Trading Economics , n.d. Web. 18 Oct2013.

Keskinen, Marko, Matti Kummu, Mira Käkönen, and Olli Varis. “Mekong at the Crossroads: Alternative Paths of Water Development and Impact Assessment.” (2012): n. page. Web. 18 Oct. 2013.

Kummu, Matti, and Juha Sarkkula. “Impact of the Mekong River Flow Alteration on the Tonle Sap Flood Pulse.” Ambio. 37.3 (2008): n. page. Web. 18 Oct. 2013.

New Zealand . Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Cambodia . 2009. Web.

Singh, Puneet Pal. “Cambodia economy defies global trend but challenges remain.” BBC News. BBC , 25 07 2013. Web. 18 Oct 2013.

“The World Fact Book.” Central Intelligence Agency . Central Intelligence Agency , n.d. Web. 18 Oct 2013.


“Cambodia: Country Summary.” Human Rights Watch. (Jan. 2014) Web. (accessed: Apr. 5, 2014). 1-5

“Cambodia: Garment Factories Thwarting Unions.” Human Rights Watch. (Feb. 2, 2014) Web. (accessed: Apr. 5, 2014)

“Cambodia: Hun Sen Promoting, Rewarding Killers.” Human Rights Watch. (Nov. 13, 2012). Web. (accessed: Apr. 05, 2014)

“Cambodia Overview: Poverty Rate.” The World Bank Group. (Dec. 23, 2013) Web. (accessed: Apr. 5, 2014). 1-5

Campbell, Charlie. “Cambodia Is a Deadly Political Mess That the World Completely Ignores.” Time Magazine (Feb. 28, 2014) Web. (accessed: Apr. 5, 2014)

Cheng Yang. “Corruption remains a major obstacle to businesses in Cambodia: new survey.” Xinhua News. (Mar. 12, 2014) Web. (accessed: Apr. 5, 2014)

“China gives Cambodia $600m in Aid.” BBC News. (Apr. 08, 2006) Web. (accessed: Apr. 5, 2014).

“China pledges $548 million in aid to ally Cambodia.” Reuters. (Apr. 10, 2013) Web.`3/04/10/us-cambodia-china-idUSBRE93909D20130410 (accessed: Apr. 5, 2014).

Directorate General of Health: Ministry of Health Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Cambodia Demographic and Health Survey 2010. Calverton, Maryland, Sept. 2011. Print.  1 – 368

Grimsditch, Mark. “China’s Investments in Hydropower in the Mekong Region: The Kamchay Hydropower Dam, Kampot, Cambodia.” World Resource Institute (Jan. 2012). Print. 1-60

Spetalnick, Matt. “Obama presses Cambodia’s Hun Sen to improve rights records.” Reuters (Nov. 19, 2012). Web. (accessed: Apr. 5, 2014)

Hunt, Luke. “Even the Chinese are Rapping Cambodian Knuckles.” The Diplomat.   (Dec. 13. 2013) (accessed: Apr. 5, 2013).

Keo, Peter Tan. “Corruption in Cambodia?” The Diplomat. (Dec. 10, 2013) Web. (accessed: Apr. 5, 2013).

Pheakdey, Heng. “Chinese investment and aid in Cambodia a controversial affair.” East Asia Forum. (Jul. 16, 2013) Web. (accessed: Apr. 5, 2014)

“Poverty has fallen, yet many Cambodians are still at risk of slipping back into poverty, new report finds.” The World Bank Group.” (Feb. 20, 2014) Web. (accessed: Apr. 05, 2013). 1-3

Wong, Chun Han. “Cambodia’s Hun Sen Slams U.S. Threats Over Aid.” The Wall Street Journal. (Aug. 3, 2013) Web. (accessed: Apr. 5, 2014).

“Where Have All the Poor Gone: Poverty Monitoring And Analysis.” The World Bank Group. (Oct. 2013) Web. (accessed: Apr. 5, 2014). 1-2


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