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With Chinese Investment, Economists See Growth

National People's Congress Chairman Wu Bangguo delivers a work report during a plenary session of the National People's Congress in Beijing, China.

Economic analysts say they are optimistic on Cambodia’s growth in trade and the economy, following the announcement by China of $1.6 billion in energy and infrastructure investment over the next five years.

China and Cambodia have agreed to 23 cooperative projects from now until 2015, a government spokesman said Friday, during the visit of China’s top legislator, Wu Bangguo.

Those projects include the construction of roads, bridges, a port, a railway link, information technology, hydropower dams and mining, the spokesman, Khieu Kanharith, told reporters.

Prime Minister Hun Sen and Wu signed 16 different agreements, including a loan to CamGSM, a mobile phone operator, of $590 million.

Wu also promised to promote more Chinese investment in Cambodia, Khieu Kanharith said. So far China has invested $610 million this year.

Strong political ties between the countries will help promote an economic relationship, he said.

If the investments come to fruition, especially in energy and infrastructure, Cambodia could see a boon to trade, the economy and poverty reduction, Nov Seiha, an economist at the Economist Institute of Cambodia, told VOA Khmer.

Such investments are “almost necessary,” he said, “because they are the backbone of the economy.”

Chan Sophal, president of the Cambodian Economic Association, said he was optimistic the investment would help, but the government also has a responsibility to ensure the economic growth it spurs is equitably spread throughout the country.