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Response to Covid-19 pandemic

Cambodia has been relatively successful in controlling the Covid-19 pandemic.  After initial success in 2020, when the government of Cambodia had managed to avoid widespread community-level transmission and had received praise from the World Health Organisation for important investments over the last ten years in its health security system that allowed it to successfully respond to the initial outbreak of Covid-19.

However a severe Covid-19 outbreak began in the capital, Phnom Penh, in February 2021 and has surpassed 6,000 cases as at April 19th, prompting the government to impose localised lockdowns. As per the The Economist Intelligence Unit, the projected negative effect of the outbreak and lockdowns on private consumption and fixed-asset investment led to downward revision of the real GDP growth  forecast in 2021 to 3.5%, compared with 4.6% previously.EIU has revised up the forecast for real GDP growth in 2022 to 10.5%, from 6.3% previously, based on the assumption that there will be a recovery in private consumption and investment that year.

The Covid-19 pandemic inevitably hit Cambodia’s main drivers of economic growth—tourism, manufacturing exports, and construction—which together account for more than 70% of the country’s growth and almost 40% of employment, according to the World Bank.

Poverty in 2020-21 could increase among households involved in key sectors like tourism, construction, trade, manufacturing and the garment industry by between 3 to 11 percentage points higher than at baseline, or in the absence of Covid-19. The fiscal deficit could reach its highest level in 22 years.


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