In a report released yesterday, the Asian Development Bank revised its previous estimates of Cambodia’s 2010 economic growth to reflect optimism in the tourism and garment sectors, aligning its forecast with those of other development agencies.
The estimate revised the Bank’s growth forecast from 4.5 percent to 5 percent in light of a 12.4 percent increase in tourist arrivals over the first six months of this year, over the same period last year, and a 10 percent rise in the value of garment exports.
The revision, which exceeds the 4 percent prediction issued yesterday by the World Bank, brings the prediction in line with a forecast issued earlier this month by the International Monetary Fund.
According to the report, the sectors that continue to lag in the wake of the global financial crisis of 2008 are construction and agriculture.
Sustaining garment export levels in an increasingly competitive international market is a key challenge, the report said.
Chhong Sophal, Agricultural Development Coordinator for the Cambodian Center for Study and Development in Agriculture, yesterday echoed the report’s claim that rice exports could be affected by the recent dry spell.
“The rice yield will decrease this year because it has been affected by the drought,” said Mr Sophal. “Last year, during this time, the farmers had almost finished their planting. But this year some of the farmers could not transplant their crops.”
Mr Sophal said the effect of the government’s new rice policy, which is to help finance the creation of rice mills in order to increase the country’s yield of export-quality milled rice, would likely not be seen for several years because farmers needed to be trained to sow the correct seed.
The report highlighted the importance of vocational training, saying Cambodia remained one of a small group of countries, such as Papua New Guinea and the Philippines, that had not been able to translate increased job training into rising economic activity.
“Some countries are apparent laggards in the sense that their workers’ average educational outcomes have not reached the critical threshold to enable them to reap the growth benefits of increases in the stock of human capital,” said the report.
The appraisal came a day after a World Bank report cited Cambodia’s lack of trained professionals as a key obstacle to the country’s development.