Cambodia’s forex reserves top 1.6 billion dollars – PM

Posted December 27, 2007 by puthikar
Categories: Uncategorized

PHNOM PENH (Thomson Financial) – Cambodia’s foreign currency reserves have topped the 1.6-billion-dollar mark due to robust economic growth over the last decade, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Wednesday.Hun Sen said the country’s international reserves increased by nearly 700 million dollars this year.‘As of yesterday, our international reserves had reached 1.69 billion dollars,’ the premier announced during a graduation ceremony.He noted that the country had started without any reserves in 1979 when the Khmer Rouge were driven from power.‘By the middle of next year, our international reserves will reach 2 billion dollars,’ Hun Sen said.While still one of the world’s poorest countries, Cambodia has emerged from decades of conflict as one of Asia’s rising economies.It has posted annual economic growth averaging 11 percent over the past three years on the back of strong garment and tourism sectors.The country’s economy is expected to grow by 9.0 percent in 2007, according to the International Monetary Fund.Nonetheless, the kingdom still needs at least 500 million dollars from foreign aid annually for development.Cambodia remains a largely cash-only economy and a high degree of mistrust keeps many people hoarding their money at home instead of using the banks.Nearly one third of Cambodia’s 14 million people survive on only 50 US cents a day or less.While acknowledging Cambodia’s economic growth, the World Bank in June warned that the country continues to face a wide wealth gap that leaves rural villagers poor.



Cambodia Gets First PGA-Standard Golf Course

Posted December 27, 2007 by puthikar
Categories: Uncategorized

PHNOM PENH (AFP) — Cambodia’s first PGA-standard golf course will bring in much-needed tourist dollars to the impoverished nation, a company official said Wednesday.

Designed by and named after golfing legend Nick Faldo, the “Faldo Course” will be a boost to Cambodia’s economy by attracting well-heeled tourists, said Adam Robertson, operations manager at the Angkor Golf Resort.

“By having an internationally acclaimed golf course in Siem Reap, we will now attract golf travellers, who generally have a large disposable income,” Robertson told AFP.

The 18-hole, 72-par course is located close to the famed Angkor Wat temple, which sits just outside the northeastern town of Siem Reap, and was officially opened by Prime Minister Hun Sen on Saturday.

Tourism is one of the few sources of foreign exchange for Cambodia and the government is trying to woo tourists into venturing beyond the World Heritage-listed temple.

Cambodia recorded about 1.7 million tourist arrivals in 2006 and the burgeoning sector has injected new life into a country still recovering from decades of conflict.

Quote of The Day

Posted December 27, 2007 by puthikar
Categories: Uncategorized

“The best thing about the future is that it comes only one day at a time.”

-Abraham Lincoln

Cambodia releases 2,205 mln USD capital for public investment program

Posted February 20, 2007 by puthikar
Categories: Development, Economics

The Council of Ministers of Cambodia approved the draft of public investment program from 2007 to 2009 with 2,205 million U.S. dollars capital on Friday, a statement from spokesman office of the Cambodian government said here on Saturday.

The money will be spent on 605 projects, including 274 top priority projects and other 331 projects, the statement said, adding the projects in 2007 is worth about 695 million U.S. dollars, in 2008 about 740 million U.S. dollars and in 2009 about 770 million U.S. dollars.

The projects are all in the plans of the national development strategy, it said.

So far, the Cambodian government and development partners have pledged 1,143 million U.S. dollars for the projects, while Cambodia still needs 1,061 million U.S. dollars, the statement added.

Source: Xinhua

Rush for Cambodia’s oil begins

Posted February 20, 2007 by puthikar
Categories: Development, Economics

Cambodia has huge offshore oil fields whose expected worth far exceeds its current GDP. Experts fear that only the government, one of the most corrupt in the world, might benefit. An agreement with Thailand must still be worked out to develop fields in the Gulf of Thailand.

Phnom Penh (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Oil companies have begun lining up for licenses to tap Cambodia’s vast oil and gas fields, but experts are wondering whether this new wealth will be a blessing for the country. Firms from China, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Kuwait, Australia, and France have come knocking on officials’ doors to get permits to explore and develop the country’s energy riches. US giant Chevron Corp. has already drilled in the Gulf of Thailand in the last two years and found oil in five oil wells.

According to several studies conducted by the United Nations, World Bank, Harvard University, and other reliable institutions, Cambodian reserves could contain as many as 2 billion barrels of oil and 10 trillion cubic feet of gas. Based on the current world price of oil and gas, this may provide Cambodia with annual revenues of US$ 6 billion a year over the next two decades, an amount more than the country’s gross domestic product which is only about US$5 billion a year.

Cambodia is one of the world’s poorest countries. Some 40 per cent of its population of 14 million live below the national poverty line of 50 cents a day, 50 per cent of children never complete their primary education, 30,000 children die every year from preventable diseases, and only half of the countryside has access to electricity.

Many experts fear a repeat of what has happened in many other developing countries where massive influx of oil money enriched elites without improving the standards of living of the population.

The best example is Nigeria. Since the discovery of oil in the 1970s, the African country has exported more than US$ 400 billion in oil, but that has not benefited its people, 70 per cent of whom continue to live on less than $1 a day. Moreover, the country is carrying a US$30 billion debt.

Cambodia is still viewed as one of the most corrupt countries in the world with the ruling Cambodian People’s Party using violence in maintaining its power. But in recent years, Prime Minister Hun Sen’s government has had to accept some reforms and show some more respect for human rights in order to get foreign aid which represents about 60 per cent of its working budget. However, soon it will no longer need Western aid and could disregard human rights groups altogether.

In fact, Prime Minister Hun Sen’s regime has already created a Cambodian National Petroleum Authority under his full direct control over the oil wealth.

Sokimex, Cambodia’s leading conglomerate, is expected to play a key role in the energy sector. It is majority-owned by Sok Kong, a long-time friend of Hun Sen.

Cambodia’s main opposition party led by Sam Rainsy publicly accused the two companies of tax and customs-duty evasion on imported petroleum products and complained last year that domestic retail oil prices failed to fall in line with declining global oil prices, which fell by about 25 per cent between mid-July and November last year.

Cambodian oil fields are very important for China because they would allow its fuel shipments to bypass the congested Malacca Strait, through which nearly 80 per cent of its oil imports now flow.

Chinese leaders have also openly expressed concerns that in a potential conflict, US naval vessels could block China’s fuel imports from the Middle East at the narrow channel that separates peninsular Malaysia and the Indonesia island of Sumatra.

Beijing has recently showered Cambodia with aid worth hundreds for millions of dollars. On January 18, a “goodwill” delegation from the Chinese Communist Party met and held undisclosed discussions with senior members of Hun Sen’s ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP).

Full-scale production of oil is not expected earlier than 2009 and Cambodia must still reach an agreement with Thailand on an overlapping area claimed by the two neighbouring countries in the Gulf of Thailand. Negotiations between the two have been going on for years but have not produced any result.

Source: Google News

Globalization, Tourism and Cambodia: The Domino Effects.

Posted January 22, 2007 by puthikar
Categories: My Works


Amok on Allen Street: Cambodian cuisine makes L.E.S comeback

Posted January 10, 2007 by puthikar
Categories: Entertaintment

by Robert Sietsema
January 5th, 2007 2:26 PM

Einstein’s Theory of Relativity assumes that matter and energy are conserved; in a closed system the totality of both—interchangeable according to the formula E = mc2—remains the same. A corollary pertains to the New York dining scene, positing that restaurants, too, are conserved. The Theory of Restaurant Relativity maintains that when a restaurant disappears, an equivalent pops up somewhere else in the five boroughs—if only you can find it. Latest confirmation of this theory is Cambodian food. For years the city’s only Cambodian restaurant was Fort Greene’s South East Asian Cuisine, offering lots of Thai and Chinese dishes, but only a handful of uniquely Cambodian ones, including the amazing amok (a gingery mousse of pureed chicken), tchruok spey koaob (a beguiling collection of pickled veggies), and some sour and fishy noodle soups. Sadly, S.E.A. Cuisine went belly-up not long ago. Evincing our theory, however, Kampuchea Noodle Bar appeared about the same time on the Lower East Side. Located at the busy corner of Allen and Rivington streets, the café is all big windows and dark woods, with raised communal tables flanked by high backless stools. The chef and his pals made the tables themselves. K.N.B. already feels like a quintessential L.E.S. spot.
A child of Cambodian refugees, chef Ratha Chau formerly worked as restaurant manager at Fleur de Sel. Despite his never cheffing before, his cooking skills are prodigious. As with its Fort Greene predecessor, Kampuchea Noodle Bar offers a menu that spans Southeast Asia. As the chef explained one evening, “Cambodians have a cuisine that borrows from all the countries around us due to our central location.” Indeed, the best things on the menu are the sandwiches called num pang ($7 to $9), which resemble Vietnamese banh mi. The one called Kampuchea (the Khmer name for Cambodia) layers pork pâté, headcheese, and ground pork on a freshly toasted baguette. Less organ-oriented and almost as scrumptious, another features memorable pork meatballs.

The sandwiches come slathered with a pink coconut concoction that’s a dead ringer for Russian dressing. The same mayo recurs on the grilled corn ($6), a pair of sweet ears dusted with dried cheese, which seems more Mexican than Cambodian but is damn good nonetheless. There’s an interesting papaya salad flavored with tiny dried shrimp rather than fish sauce, and a fantastic plate of homemade pickles—which you needn’t order because a handful comes with most things on the menu.

There are deconstructed Southeast Asian crepes too, and small grilled dishes of chicken wings, pork loin, skirt steak, and baby cuttlefish, but the menu is anchored by seven meal-size soups ($13 to $17). Filet mignon katiev is something like Vietnamese pho, but it’s a bit dull, partly due to the prim slices of filet flung into its depths. Use fatty stew beef, dude, and cook the fuck out of it! Meanwhile, bwah moun soup is transcendently wonderful. The ever clueless Time Out described it as a congee, but they must not have ever seen it, because the soup is really the opposite of a congee, the dark, fragrant broth scented with basil and shallots and rife with intact grains of broken rice. It’s one of the best soups I’ve slurped lately, convincing me that K.N.B. is a fit replacement for S.E.A. Cuisine and a perfect illustration of my Theory of Restaurant Relativity.