Hun Sen: Cambodia 2000 GDP Up 5.4%; Committed To Growth

June 8, 2001

TOKYO (Dow Jones)--Cambodia's economy grew 5.4% last year, faster than previously estimated, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Friday, vowing that the government remains committed to growth.

"According to our latest estimate, real GDP (gross domestic product) was 5.4% in 2000," Hun Sen told a forum in Tokyo. This represents a revision upward from the previous estimate of 4.5% growth.

"Even after the most severe flooding in 70 years, the Royal Government of Cambodia is committed to taking the necessary measures in order to reach the GDP growth target of 5.5%," Hun Sen said, without specifying which year the target figure referred to.

Hun Sen forecast growth for both this year and 2002 at 6.1%.

"Inflation will be kept at a low level and the exchange rates will be broadly stable," Hun Sen said.

He was addressing a conference on the future of Asia, sponsored by the Japanese business daily Nihon Keizai Shimbun.

International aid donors are expected to announce at a meeting here Tuesday and Wednesday how millions of dollars in money pledged to Cambodia will be allocated.

"Japan is a midwife among many midwives for Cambodia, like the European Community," Hun Sen said before leaving for Tokyo. "The midwives should not only help give birth to the baby, but should also help the baby until it walks." Cambodia, a small, agriculturally oriented country, had its economic and social structure severely disrupted by war and unrest from the 1970s through the 1980s, as well as the radical misrule of the communist Khmer Rouge from 1975 to 1979.

Hun Sen said he was "optimistic" the aid donors would say they were pleased with the performance of the government, which is formally a democracy but effectively an authoritarian regime dominated by the prime minister.

Titles of speakers, names of companies, etc., were correct as of the time when the forum was held.