Interview: Cambodia "exemplar" of Belt and Road success story, says expert

Updated: October 17, 2023 Source: Xinhua News Agency
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PHNOM PENH, Oct. 17 (Xinhua) -- The China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has greatly facilitated Cambodia's socioeconomic development and poverty reduction, serving as a success story in the implementation of Belt and Road projects, a Cambodian expert has said.

Chinese-invested and Chinese-aided Belt and Road projects have significantly promoted Cambodia's infrastructure development and economic growth, said Ki Manghout, a researcher at Phnom Penh-based independent think tank Asian Vision Institute (AVI), in an interview with Xinhua on Sunday.

The construction of highways, bridges, ports, airports, hydropower plants and the Sihanoukville Special Economic Zone has facilitated trade and boosted Cambodia's export capabilities, he said.

"These infrastructure projects have improved connectivity within Cambodia and enhanced Cambodia's role as a crucial link within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)," Manghout said.

"Cambodia's economic prosperity can serve as a model for other BRI participating countries," he added.

Apart from infrastructure investment, the initiative's focus on poverty alleviation and job creation in Cambodia has also been evident, Manghout said.

"For instance, Chinese investments in the textile and garment industry have generated employment opportunities for Cambodians, helping to lift many out of poverty," he said.

On top of these, he said, a China-aided medical building at the Cambodia-China Friendship Preah Kossamak Hospital in Phnom Penh is another testament to China's commitment to improving the lives of Cambodians.

"This healthcare facility provides quality medical services to the Cambodian population and represents a tangible example of China's contributions to social development," Manghout said.

Cultural exchanges and tourism, he said, are also vital components of the initiative, fostering people-to-people connections between nations.

"With its rich history and cultural heritage, Cambodia has seen a surge in Chinese tourists, thanks in part to enhanced connectivity," the expert said. "Chinese tourists contribute significantly to Cambodia's tourism industry, providing economic benefits and promoting cross-cultural understanding."

By focusing on economic development, poverty alleviation, transparency, and sustainability, Manghout suggested Cambodia could become "an exemplary model of the BRI."

He believed that as Cambodia continues to prosper within the framework of the initiative, it stands out as a shining example of what can be achieved through strategic cooperation and responsible development.

Editor: Yang Linlin