“Sick Man of Asia”

The phrase “Sick man of Asia” refers to a country in Asia undergoing economic or political strife.

Cambodia is currently ranked 162 out of 180 countries, scoring 20 out of 100 in the 2019 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) by Transparency International which rates the country as “highly corrupted”. It is the lowest score among Southeast Asian and  Asia Pacific countries, second only to North Korea and Afghanistan.

While countries tend to avoid doing business with a corrupted country, the competitiveness report by WEF in 2019 has shown positive sign of Cambodia’s effort in fighting the “illness” and shaking off the title of “Sick Man of Asia”.

Global Competitiveness Report by World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum (WEF) published The Global Competitiveness Report (GCR) to assess the ability of countries to provide high levels of prosperity to their citizens. This depends on how competitive a nation economy is based on 12 ‘pillars’ that include institutions, infrastructure, ICT adoption, macroeconomic stability, health, skills, product market, labour market, financial system, market size, business dynamism, and innovation capability.

In 2019 Global Competitiveness Report, Cambodia was ranked 106th out of 141 countries which symbolized progressing economy for a country that subjected to the effects of a brutal and long-running civil war that only ended in the late 1990s.

Cambodia ranked 109th in WEF 2019 Global Competitiveness Report (C) WEF

What is next for Cambodia’s Economy?

The improved rankings are a reflection of Cambodia’s fast-growing economy and investors’ growing confidence in the Kingdom. In the last five years, Cambodia’s economy has been growing by an average of 7 percent, making it one of the fastest-growing economies in Asia.

The new wave of investors from China, Japan, and Asean countries entering to Cambodia can be attributed to competitive labor cost, young and increasingly educated population, business-centric governance which make the Kingdom more appealing.

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