The theme of this TV interview is mainly about the potential benefit of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) for Cambodia. My take: from connectivity to cross-border trade to tourism, Cambodia (and China) have benefited greatly from their cooperation under the BRI framework and enhanced cooperation between the two countries will definitely lead to greater future potential. For example, the Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone (SSEZ) alone has helped generate income by directly employing over 20,000 Cambodian workers and promoting social, and economic inclusion of mostly low-skilled and female workers from Sihanoukville and other surrounding provinces. The planned Phnom Penh – Sihanoukville Expressway has big potential to enhance connectivity and logistics within Cambodia and beyond; complimenting the existing national road connecting Phnom Penh and Sihanoukville Port that will improve logistic efficiency and reduce trade cost. That said, Cambodia’s increasing dependency on China needs to be taken into consideration and BRI-linked projects need to be well-managed to ensure better balance and shared benefit among the Cambodian population.
Photo credit: my long-time friend SOK Phin.