The business community and industry experts are optimistic of the nation’s future with the appointment of a new government head and young blood which would drive the economy forward, following Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) landslide victory.Unofficial results of the July 23 polls show that CPP swept 120 out of 125 seats to secure another term.
The entrepreneurs believe that the growth would be sustained by micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and by embracing a digital economy.
Among them, Anthony Galliano, group CEO of financial services firm Cambodian Investment Management Co Ltd said a government which is stable is a key factor in evaluating country risk and investment in a country.
Based on the election results, a status quo is anticipated in governance with growth and development remaining steady, but the entry of new and younger leaders could accelerate positive changes going forward.
“Investors seek certainty, especially in the areas of political and economic risk, and the election results and succession plans [happened] as expected, with no degree of uncertainty,” he said.
Prime Minister Hun Sen announced his resignation as Cambodia’s Prime Minister on July 26, while appointing Hun Manet, a deputy commander-in-chief of the Royal Armed Forces and his oldest son, to replace him and form a new government.Galliano is confident that the incoming government is “very pro-business” and would look to increase and diversify foreign investment. He said Cambodia enjoyed the global spotlight with the “spectacular” handling of the ASEAN chairmanship and SEA Games.
Now that these events have passed, there may be less emphasis on engagement by the west, especially given the “recent chatter on de-risking or even decoupling from China”, with whom Cambodia has a deep relationship.
“I believe the new administration has an opportunity to reinvigorate western distant relationships starting with a clean slate. Regional priorities are currently focused on Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand.
“The onus is for Cambodia to garner interest, especially for foreign direct investment, otherwise the reliance on China would persist,” Galliano said.
He added that while expectations are high as new and youthful leaders are slated to replace most of the old guards, Cambodia’s economic and social success were grounded by older leaders.
Thus, the challenge rests on the new cabinet to remain on track and even elevate the country further, he stressed. Kong Sang, chairman of Textile, Garment, Footwear and Travel Goods Association of Cambodia (TAFTAC), in a post-election congratulatory letter on August 1, mentioned that the polls went smoothly, were transparent, free, fair and democratic with a high voter turnout of 84.59 per cent.
“We would like to express support for the new composition of the government of the seventh legislature, led by Dr. Hun Manet as the Prime Minister, as announced by current Prime Minister Hun Sen.“TAFTAC is ready to continue to be a dialogue partner with the new government through various mechanisms, especially the government-private sector forum, to further improve the investment environment to ensure greater competitiveness of the private sector,” he said.
The ruling party has priorities to implement six political agendas for the new government.These include healthcare program expansion, vocational and technical human resources development, social welfare expansion to vulnerable and poor, economic growth via the SME and non-formal economic sector, financial accessibility to boost production and market exploration, and nationwide agriculture technical support.
He said political stability is important to ensure business continuity, therefore they are confident that the new government would remain pro-business and continuously reform for better economic competitiveness. “We also hope that the implementation of our Sector Development Strategy 2022-2027 would be expedited soon,” Sang added.
Meanwhile, the National Election Council (NEC) would announce the official results soon and if there are no complaints, the distribution of parliament seats between the winning parties would commence on August 4.Pursuant to that, the National Assembly is scheduled for a two-day session on August 21 and 22. The newly-elected government is slated to begin its tenure on August 22, signifying a new phase in Cambodia’s political journey.