Cambodian borrowers owe average of US$3,800 each, as coronavirus widens debt crisis

More than 2.6 million people in Cambodia, where the average annual income is US$1,700, have used a microfinance service.

Trapped under a mountain of crippling debt, Cambodian farmer Roeurn Reth fears she will have to sell her land to repay microfinance loans that have ballooned due to pandemic-spurred job losses in her family.

What started as a US$3,000 sum from a loan shark for her son’s wedding has now grown to about US$7,000, she says – the result of additional financial needs that have cropped up.

Her sons – who crossed illegally into neighbouring Thailand – previously sent money home to help with repayments, but they are now out of work.

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