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9 Percent Growth Rate Expected in 2007, World Bank Says

The World Bank has forecast a 9 percent GDP growth rate for Cambodia in the year ahead, a slight falling off from the 10.5 percent rate of last year but still a considerable showing for a country whose growth saw a crippling plunge following a coup in 1997.

High growth rate is expected to continue in coming years, as oil and gas exploration off the coast continue, and was being driven by garment export, tourism, construction, and agricultural expansion, according to a World Bank report.

"For us, basically, we are proud that the poverty level is being reduced, so we can see that this reflects the people's living conditions have improved," World Bank economist Chea Huot said.

Kim Phalla, an analyst at the Ministry of Economy and Finance said the proof of improvement was visible. "We just look around," he said.

"When we go to the rural areas, we will see many big and new homes being built. We ask [people] about them and they say they were built between 1990 and 2000."