Cambodia on the Global Stage

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From the dynamic regional community of ASEAN to the prestigious halls of the UN and the influential trade circles of the WTO, Cambodia continues to make its mark on the world stage. This article covers Cambodia’s role and relationships in these pivotal organizations: 

Cambodia’s Global Network

  • Partnership with The World Bank
    The World Bank, a significant collaborator in Cambodia’s development since the 1990s, has played a vital role in the country’s growth. Providing over $10 billion in loans and grants, the Bank’s support encompasses various sectors such as infrastructure, education, health, and agriculture. This partnership has been influential in driving Cambodia’s economic growth, reducing poverty levels, and elevating citizens’ quality of life.
  • Partnership with The International Monetary Fund (IMF)
    The IMF’s involvement in Cambodia has been invaluable in facilitating sound economic policies and providing financial aid. This collaboration has been especially crucial in Cambodia’s recovery from the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s.
  • Partnership with The Asian Development Bank (ADB)
    As another key development partner for Cambodia, the ADB has substantially contributed over $6 billion in loans and grants. The bank’s support spans multiple sectors, including infrastructure, agriculture, and rural development. These efforts have helped Cambodia advance its economy and improve living conditions for its people.
  • Partnership with The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
    Operating in Cambodia since 1979, the UNDP—a United Nations agency—provides technical assistance and grant funding to the developing country. Its support in various areas, such as poverty reduction, governance, and environmental protection, has played an essential role in assisting Cambodia in achieving the Millennium Development Goals.
  • Partnership with The United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
    Established in 1962, USAID is the United States government’s international development agency. It has contributed over $3 billion in assistance to Cambodia, focusing on sectors like health, education, agriculture, and economic development. USAID’s continuous support has been significant in improving the lives of Cambodian citizens.

Membership of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)

ASEAN is a regional intergovernmental organisation that consists of 10 Southeast Asian countries: Cambodia, Brunei, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Cambodia became a member of ASEAN in 1999, and has since gained a number of advantages from being a part of this bloc. These advantages include:

  • Increased trade and investment
    ASEAN has a combined GDP of over $3 trillion, and Cambodia’s membership has enabled it to penetrate this enormous market. Consequently, ASEAN membership has contributed to an increase in trade and investment in Cambodia, which has helped grow the country’s economy.
  • Free trade agreement
    ASEAN members are beneficiaries of a free trade agreement with China, Japan and South Korea, in addition to the other members of ASEAN.
  • Improved infrastructure
    ASEAN has invested in Cambodia through infrastructure projects, for instance, building roads, bridges and airports. These developments have significantly enhanced Cambodia’s connectivity and made it a more attractive destination for businesses.
  • Enhanced security cooperation
    ASEAN plays a vital role in promoting peace and stability in Southeast Asia, which is significant to Cambodia, given the country’s historical background of conflict.
  • Increased soft power
    Cambodia’s ASEAN membership has provided the country with an international platform that has helped raise its profile and promote its cultural heritage.
  • Reduced poverty
    ASEAN membership has helped reduce poverty in Cambodia through economic growth. The poverty rate in Cambodia has decreased from 39% in 1999 to 18% in 2022.
  • Improved education
    ASEAN has supported education in Cambodia by establishing the ASEAN University Network, which has improved the education system’s quality and accessibility to diverse learners.
  • Environmental protection
    With the aid of ASEAN, Cambodia has established protected areas and implemented sustainable forestry practices, which is vital for the environment’s preservation.

Cambodia has benefited significantly from being a member of the ASEAN bloc, and it has contributed to the country’s growth and development. As a result, the intergovernmental organisation continues to be a valuable partner for Cambodia, fostering mutual cooperation and economic stability.

Membership in The United Nations

Cambodia is one of the 193 member states of the United Nations, and attained membership on 14 December 1955.

Being part of the UN has opened up extensive opportunities for Cambodia to participate in a wide range of UN activities, which includes:

  • Peacekeeping: making contributions to UN peacekeeping missions in Cambodia, East Timor and Lebanon
  • Human rights: working cooperatively with the UN to advocate and safeguard human rights in the country
  • Development: benefiting from UN assistance in significant development areas, such as education, health and agriculture
  • Environment: partnering with the UN to combat environmental degradation and address climate change.

Having Cambodia as a member of the United Nations also presents some notable advantages, which include:

  • Access to international support: Cambodia has been a beneficiary of financial and technical support from the UN, thereby tackling its developmental challenges.
  • Increased global representation: Being part of the UN has given Cambodia a broader presence and influence in international events, consequently elevating the country’s profile.
  • Enhanced diplomacy: Through the UN framework, Cambodia has been able to deepen its ties and cooperation with other nations on a variety of matters, such as security, trade and development.

Cambodia’s membership of the UN has been crucial in advancing positive change in the country and improving its global recognition.

Membership in the World Trade Organization

On 13 October 2004, Cambodia joined the World Trade Organization (WTO), marking a significant milestone in its economic development. Membership in the WTO has brought several advantages to the kingdom, including:

  • Improved trade and investment
    Cambodia’s exports have experienced substantial growth following its membership of the WTO. In 2022, exports reached a total value of US$18.6 billion, compared with US$6.7 billion in 2011.
  • Enhanced legal and regulatory framework
    Since becoming a WTO member, Cambodia has made noteworthy progress in enhancing its legal and regulatory environment for businesses. These improvements have made it easier for businesses to operate in the country and have attracted foreign investment.
  • Access to technical assistance and training
    The WTO has provided Cambodia with valuable technical assistance and training, focusing on areas such as trade policy, trade facilitation and intellectual property. These resources have supported Cambodia in implementing its WTO commitments and developing its trade capacity.

As a member of the WTO, Cambodia is subject to the rules and obligations of the organisation. This includes commitments related to trade in goods, services, intellectual property and dispute settlement mechanisms.

Cambodia’s membership of the WTO has played a pivotal role in boosting its trade and investment opportunities, and it has also facilitated improvement in the country’s legal and regulatory environments. This affiliation has contributed to Cambodia’s integration into the global economy and has supported its economic growth and development.


Cambodia: Discovering the Nation

Introduction to Cambodia
    » Introduction to Phnom Penh
    » Introduction to Siem Reap
    » Monarchy & Government
Tourism & Residency
    » Thriving Tourism Industry
    » Visas in Cambodia
Healthcare & Education
    » Healthcare in Cambodia
    » Education in Cambodia
    » International Schools in Cambodia
    » The Rise of Technology in Cambodia

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