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IMF Puts 2011 Growth Rate at 7.5 Percent

The textile industry is Cambodia’s largest, with some 300 companies providing jobs for an estimated 300,000 workers.

Cambodia’s economic growth rate is expected to reach 7.5 percent, the International Monetary Fund said Thursday.

Growth was bolstered by strong garment exports, increased tourism and a slowly recovering real estate sector, IMF said in a statement. Agriculture was strong in the first three quarters of the year, it added.

Olaf Unteroberdoerster, IMF’s deputy division chief for the Asia Pacific, told reporters that an IMF mission had recommended improved debt management and a better debt strategy in meetings with senior officials. The 11-day mission also found a need for the government to focus on agricultural growth and rural infrastructure, he said.

Ek Tha, a government spokesman, said the government expects growth to continue, especially if recovery continues to attract local and foreign investment.

“This is a positive sign for Cambodia,” he said of the IMF growth rate.

However, Yim Sovann, a spokesman for the Sam Rainsy Party, said the gap between rich and poor continues to increase, and that any economic growth was not being shared equally.