Monday, February 16, 2009

Experts: Investors still highly interested in Cambodia

SIEM REAP, Cambodia, Feb. 16 (Xinhua) -- Investors still remain highly interested in putting their money into Cambodia, despite of the global economic downturn, the Economic Conferences here on Monday quoted financial experts as saying.

    "Although the global crisis has undoubtedly had an impact on direct foreign investment, this is expected to be only temporary, as regional investors are still showing strong interest and the entry cost and risk is comparatively less than for other developing markets," said Im Channy, president and CEO of the ACLEDA Bank, a leading sponsor of the one-day Business Roundtable, which was opened here on Monday by the Economists Conferences to discuss ways for the kingdom to secure sustainable economic development.

    "The National Bank (of Cambodia) took robust measures in 2008 to squeeze credit when inflation was running high, but have been equally quick to relax them this year when the economy started to slow down," he added.

    Brett Sciaroni, senior partner of the Sciaroni and Associates, another leading sponsor of the Business Roundtable, also said that "there is still considerable interest in investment in Cambodia, despite the economic troubles that are evident in more advanced economies."

    "Businesses operating in Cambodia rate political stability and an openness of the Royal Government to engage in dialogue with the private sector as key features of the current investment environment that have attracted the attention of many potential investors," the Economic Conferences quoted him as saying in a press release issued prior to the meeting.

    "Furthermore, while much legal reform is needed, investors are impressed with the commitment of the government to getting modern commercial laws in place as evidenced by the progress that has been made both before and after Cambodia's accession to WTO," he added.

    With the same press release, the Economist Conferences warned that "the next 10 years will be more challenging for Cambodia than the past decade, and economic growth is unlikely to be as strong."

    Cambodia has just enjoyed a decade of blistering growth, more than doubling its per capita GDP between 1998 and 2007, thanks to political stability, deepening integration into the global trade and investment community and improved macro-economic management, according to the Economist Conferences.

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