In between Thailand, Laos and Vietnam sits the country of Cambodia. Their early history is unrecorded but most Cambodians consider themselves descendants of the Angkor Empire that stretched most of Southeast Asia. Under constrain threats to invade by Thailand and Vietnam, the king of France placed Cambodia under France’s protection in 1963. This only lasted until 1953 when they gained full independence from France after the occupation of the Japanese during World War II. The most dramatic event that has happened in Cambodia’s history was the Khmer Rouge genocide.
It started when Khmer Rouge forces captured Phnom Penh and forced everyone out of the cities and towns at gun point. Even the hospital patients were evacuated; one could see patients being pushed down the road still in their hospital beds. There were a total of 2. 5 million in the city all told to evacuate to the countryside by Khmer Rouge forces; a majority of these soldiers were boys and young teenagers. This period of four years, cost close to 2 million lives through the combined result of political executions, starvation, and forced labor.
In December of 1978 the Vietnamese invaded Cambodia and drove the Khmer Rouge into the countryside. This started a 10 year Vietnamese occupation and 13 years of civil war. Then in 1991 the Paris Peace Accords mandated democratic elections and a ceasefire. In 1993 4 million eligible Cambodians participated in the elections. Those running parties then established a multiparty liberal democracy in the framework of a constitutional monarchy, with the former Prince Sihanouk was made the King, while, Prince Ranariddh and Hun Sen became first and second Prime Ministers in the Royal Cambodian Government.
The constitution provides for a wide range of internationally recognized human rights. The last of the Khmer Rouge finally surrendered in 1999. Then later in that same year, Cambodia became a member of ASEAN, and after centuries of isolation they became a full-fledged member of the Southeast Asian community. Most of the surviving Khmer Rouge leaders have been tried or are awaiting trial for crimes against humanity by the UN. With the leaders finally getting what they deserve, Cambodia is free to let of its dark past and look forward to the future.
In 1953, after 90 years of French colonial rule, Cambodia gained independence under the leadership of Norodom Sihanouk. Since then Cambodia has had four types of political systems: a constitutional monarchy (1953–70), a military-dominated republic led (1970–75), a communist regime (1975–79) and a socialist republic (1979–92). In 1993, a constitution was created turning Cambodia back into a constitutional monarchy. The Prime Minster (Hun Sen) is the head of the government while the King of Cambodia (Norodom Sihamoni) is the head of the state.
The Prime Minster is appointed by the King with the approval of the National Assembly. Cambodia is divided into 24 provinces including the capital and the provinces are subdivided into 159 districts and 26 municipalities. In the recent years the Cambodian has been accused of oppression and corruption. The prime minster (Hun Sen) was a former Khmer Rouge commander who was originally put in control by the Vietnamese and he maintained his political position by violence and oppression when he saw fit.
In 1997, fearing the growing power of his co-Prime Minister (Prince Norodom Ranariddh), Hun launched a rebellion, using the army to expel Ranariddh and his supporters. Ranariddh was forced to flee to Paris while other opponents of Hun Sen were arrested, tortured and some executed. Cambodian government has also been accused of corruption in the sale of large areas of land to foreign investors, which resulted in the eviction of thousands of villagers. The government has also been bribing villagers in exchange for grants to exploit Cambodia’s oil wealth and mineral resources.
Cambodia is constantly listed as one of the most corrupt governments in the world. From 1998 through 2008, Cambodia’s economy has grown at a rate of almost 10 percent per year and their GDP growth rate reached a four-year high of 7. 1 percent. Projected growth rates for 2013 are 6. 7 and 7. 0 in 2014. This successful growth is attributed to strong exports, private investment, agriculture, diversification and a solid macroeconomic position. Employment has increased from the constant economic growth this in turned reduced the poverty headcount from 34. percent in 2004 to 20 percent in 2011. Cambodia achieved the Millennium Development Goal of halving poverty in 2009 but is still facing problems with rural poverty since 90 percent of the poor live in the countryside. Maternal health, early childhood care, and primary education programs in rural areas have increased as well. The under 5 mortality rate has decreased from 124 per 1,000 live births in 1996 to 83 in 2006 and then 43 in 2011. Primary education admission rate increased from 81 in 2001 to 92. 4 in 2008. The maternal mortality rate decreased from 472 in 2005 to 206 in 2010.
For 2011 the GDP, in US dollars was, 13 billion, population was at 14. 5 million, making a GNI per capita, PPP 2. 2 thousand. Even though Cambodia’s economy is on the raise, they still remain as one of the poorest countries in Asia and faces development problems such as: endemic corruption, limited educational opportunities, high income inequality, effective management of natural resources and land management, and environmental sustainability. The United States and Cambodia have worked together to increase trade for the last 3 decades. The U. S. upports efforts in Cambodia to combat terrorism, reduce the occurrence of HIV/AIDS, build democratic institutions, promote human rights, raise economic development, eliminate corruption and trafficking in persons, and to bring to justice those most responsible for serious violations of international humanitarian law committed under the 1975-79 Khmer Rouge regime. Cambodia is big player in the trade industry; their main exports are clothing, timber, rubber, rice, fish, tobacco, footwear. Their main export partners are US 39. 5%, Canada 8. 2%, Germany 7. 8%, UK 7. %, Vietnam 6% and Japan 4. 3%. Cambodia’s main imports are petroleum products, cigarettes, gold, construction materials, machinery, motor vehicles, and pharmaceutical products. Their main import partners are Thailand 24. 6%, Vietnam 20. 6%, China 19. 9%, Singapore 7. 8% and Hong Kong 6%. One of the major development issues that Cambodia is facing is low levels of education, which in turn provide low human capital. Increasing education plays a key role in the ability of a developing country to absorb modern technology and apply self-sustaining growth and development.
Greater education capital can raise the return on investment of health, such as basic hygiene taught in school. Education and health are closely related to each other. Health is a requirement for increases in productivity and successful education relies on sufficient health. Higher education equals higher wages and economic growth. No country has ever achieved continuous and rapid growth without reaching an adult literacy rate of at least 40 percent. Education supports the growth of culture, democracy, and political stability, and gives people the skills and knowledge necessary to exercise their rights.
Cambodia has some issues when it comes to Education. They are ranked number 153 out of 173 on the education expenditures from the CIA world fact book. Cambodia’s government only spends 2. 6 percent of GDP (2010) on education; the United States spends 5. 4 percent. The literacy rate, age 15 and over can read and write is 77. 6 percent of the total population. For men it is 85. 1 percent and for women it is 70. 9 percent. Compared to the United States, we have a 99 percent literacy rate.
Cambodia also only has an average years of schooling of 9, 8 for women; the United States has an average of 16 years of schooling, 15 for men and 17 for women. With those to examples there seems to be an inequality between men in women when it comes to education. A solution for increasing levels of education is to give financial incentives to parents for keeping their child in school. The Mexican program on education, health and nutrition, known as Progreas/Oportunidades, provides cash transfers to poor families who keep their kids in school and take them to health clinics.
Program payments are conditional on the grades the children are receiving. The payments also increase as the children increase in grade level. Families with girls receive more than if they had a boy; this provides incentive to keep the girls in school. Progreas/Oportunidades has a larger impact on enrollment and performance per dollar spent then building new schools. To combat low education levels, the government of Cambodia came up with the program, Education for all: fast track initiative catalytic trust fund. The program ran from April 10, 2008 to December 31, 2012.
Here is how the World Bank summaries the project: The objective of the Education Sector Support Scale Up Action Program Project for Cambodia is to assist the recipient to speed up progress towards improved grade right-age entry, net enrollment, retention, progression rates and grade six completion rates in primary education. Project closing date was extended for two years up to June 2012 to adjust to a revised implementation schedule. All other aspects of project design and development including objectives, outcomes, design, and scope will remain the same.
Currently the project implementation including sizable civil works is progressing well in accordance with the revised timeline. Other quality related sub-components are also moving along effectively in ways that will help meet the project development objective. Overall financial management arrangements will remain unchanged. The supplementary financial management manual for the project will be updated to incorporate the payment of Priority Operating Costs (POC) The results of the project seem to be show a successful outcome. Primary schooling completion rate increased from 46. 8 to 83. at the close of the project. 21,561 scholarships were awarded in the 4 years and 2861 teachers were trained. Another major developmental issue Cambodia is facing is the rapidly increasing population. Extreme population growth can be a problem because it can cause poverty, low levels of living, malnutrition, environmental degradation and other on desirable social problems. The major problem with a large family size is poverty and low levels of living. The higher the country’s population the more difficult it is to produce enough food to feed everyone, at least in developing countries.
Rapid population growth contributes to environmental degradation such as, deforestation, soil erosion, inadequate drinking water, air pollution and urban congestion. Because of Cambodia’s high population growth rate, the labor force was estimated to be 5. 1 million and is expected to increase by around 228,000 new applicants to the labor market annually. Providing employment for these new applicants will be difficult and will require more demand from the private sectors. The Population of Cambodia is estimated to be around 11. 5 million and is growing at an average rate of 2. percent per year. The total population is projected to increase by 2 million in the year 2020. The current age-sex distribution is skewed: there are more females than males – 93 males per 100. A solution for decreasing population size is to try and persuade people to have smaller families through the media and the educational process. In the case study of Kerala, fertility rates fell to just 1. 7 births per women thanks to the outreach of nongovernment organization through television, billboards and other advertising. Another solution for decreasing population size is government intervention.
In China population was rising out of control so the Chinese government adopted the policy of one child per family. They provided economic incentives such as: giving priority to one-child families in housing, medical care and education. If a family would have more than one child they could be subjected to a fine ten times the per capita income. This in turn led to favoritism in having boys vs. girls, causing the male to female ratio to become unequal. To fight high population levels in Cambodia’s two biggest cities, the government of Cambodia came up with the program, The Urban Water Supply Project.
The program ran from February 17, 1998 to March 31, 2004. Here is how the World Bank summaries the project: The Urban Water Supply Project seeks to: a) improve drinking water coverage, quality and access in Cambodia’s two biggest cities; b) improve the performance of the water utilities in these cities; c) enhance availability of water for commercial and industrial purposes in these two cities as a spur to economic growth and as a means of ensuring viability of the utilities; and d) help the Government develop and implement an investment program based on a well-articulated water and sanitation sector policy framework.
The project consists of three components: 1) Augmentation of water supply in Phnom Penh will be done through rehabilitation and extension of the Chruoy Chang War water treatment plant; supply of pipes, ancillary equipment and leak detection equipment; and technical assistance. 2) Augmentation of water supply in Sihanoukville will be done by raising the outlet weir and sealing off the sand spit to increase the storage of raw water; constructing four new groundwater wells; and improving distribution system. ) Assistance to develop a water and sanitary policy framework for the sector as a whole will be provided through financing of consulting services. The Urban Water Supply Project supported the improvement of two water utilities of Cambodia. The Phnom Penh Water Supply Authority became a financially sustainable enterprise helping 750,000 people gained access to water supply services in Phnom Penh. The Sihanoukville Water Supply Authority became more self-sufficient in its operations and extended water supply services to 18,000 people within its poor service area.
By 2004, both utilities improved their operational and financial performance significantly and the burden of overpopulation on the city’s water infrastructure was fixed. Another major development issue Cambodia is facing is the problems with a lack of agriculture efficiency. The agricultural production system remains highly vulnerable to natural disasters and pest damage, leading to large instabilities in harvests. The productivity of a developing country is extremely important for many reasons.
Besides from providing the country more food, increasing the productivity of farms affects the country’s prospects for growth in the agricultural market, savings and income distribution, and labor migration. An increase in a country’s agricultural productivity suggests a more efficient sharing of scarce resources. As farmers adopt new technologies, productivity will rise and the more farmers will benefit from an increase in their prosperity, while farmers who take up the technology will slowly exit the market.
Agriculture is the most important sector of the Cambodian economy and it employs the vast majority of the workforce. Rice is Cambodia’s major crop, its principal food, and, in times of peace, it’s most important export commodity. Rice production comprises 84 percent of total cultivated land In Cambodia but only a small part of the farming land is truly productive. Poor land leveling, bonding and drainage and efficient crop growing mean that farmers do not make best use of the rainfall.
In September, there is often a period of lower or no rainfall; this has a severe effect on rice production. A solution for increasing agricultural production and making it more efficient is applying technology and innovation. Technology and innovation improves levels of output and productivity by introducing laborsaving machinery to replace human works. This dramatically affects the volume of output per worker. The use of hybrid seeds, biotechnology, advance irrigation, fertilizer, and pesticides can also increase agricultural production.
To increase agricultural productivity and rural income in Cambodia, the government of came up with the program, Agricultural Productivity Improvement Project. The program ran from February 28, 1997 to December 31, 2005. Here is how the World Bank summaries the project: The Agricultural Productivity Improvement Project’s overall objective is the sustainable and broad-based improvement of small holder agricultural productivity as a means to improved food security and increased rural incomes.
The project will comprise the following nine components addressing priority development needs of the Ministry of Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF): a) agronomy, seeds and plant protection; b) animal health and production; c) agricultural hydraulics; d) fisheries; e) small holder rubber research; f) human resource management; g) support to provincial departments of agriculture; h) planning and statistics strengthening; and i) establishment of a Project Management Unit (PMU) According to the World Bank report, outcomes to this project were unsatisfactory and unlikely to be sustainable.
Farmers didn’t benefit from the project because the technical knowledge developed didn’t reach them or take account of their views, showing an unwillingness to adapt.