COVID-19 lessons for Cambodia: Boosting resilience and economic recovery

As Cambodia braces for the worst of COVID-19, the government needs to brace the economy for the short-term impacts and consider what recovery could look like in the post-pandemic world.

For a country that shares close ties with China, Cambodia has reported a suspiciously low number of official COVID-19 cases. As of April 3, the number of confirmed cases was 114. Despite rhetoric by Prime Minister Hun Sen downplaying the severity of the virus, Cambodia doubtlessly needs to brace itself for the full-blown impact of the oncoming crisis as Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore already anticipate the second-wave of the pandemic spread.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) recently forecasted that the economic impact of COVID-19 in Cambodia will lead to a 1.2-2.9% drop in GDP—a loss of US$283-711 million. Cambodia’s economy is extremely vulnerable to both demand-side shocks from the decline in tourism and supply-side shocks from heavy dependence on upstream linkages with China.

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