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 Transnational Issues

This page was last updated on 20 October, 2005

Map of Cambodia

Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Cambodia Top of Page
Definition Field Listing
Most Cambodians consider themselves to be Khmers, whose Angkor Empire extended over much of Southeast Asia and reached its zenith between the 10th and 13th centuries. Subsequently, attacks by the Thai and Cham (from present-day Vietnam) weakened the empire ushering in a long period of decline. In 1863, the king of Cambodia placed the country under French protection; it became part of French Indochina in 1887. Following Japanese occupation in World War II, Cambodia became independent within the French Union in 1949 and fully independent in 1953. After a five-year struggle, Communist Khmer Rouge forces captured Phnom Penh in April 1975 and ordered the evacuation of all cities and towns; at least 1.5 million Cambodians died from execution, enforced hardships, or starvation during the Khmer Rouge regime under POL POT. A December 1978 Vietnamese invasion drove the Khmer Rouge into the countryside, led to a 10-year Vietnamese occupation, and touched off almost 13 years of civil war. The 1991 Paris Peace Accords mandated democratic elections and a ceasefire, which was not fully respected by the Khmer Rouge. UN-sponsored elections in 1993 helped restore some semblance of normalcy and the final elements of the Khmer Rouge surrendered in early 1999. Factional fighting in 1997 ended the first coalition government, but a second round of national elections in 1998 led to the formation of another coalition government and renewed political stability. The July 2003 elections were relatively peaceful, but it took one year of negotiations between contending political parties before a coalition government was formed. Nation-wide local elections are scheduled for 2007 and national elections for 2008.
   Geography    Cambodia Top of Page
Definition Field Listing
Southeastern Asia, bordering the Gulf of Thailand, between Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
13 00 N, 105 00 E
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Southeast Asia
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 181,040 sq km
land: 176,520 sq km
water: 4,520 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly smaller than Oklahoma
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
total: 2,572 km
border countries: Laos 541 km, Thailand 803 km, Vietnam 1,228 km
Definition Field Listing
443 km
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm
Definition Field Listing
tropical; rainy, monsoon season (May to November); dry season (December to April); little seasonal temperature variation
Definition Field Listing
mostly low, flat plains; mountains in southwest and north
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Gulf of Thailand 0 m
highest point: Phnum Aoral 1,810 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
oil and gas, timber, gemstones, some iron ore, manganese, phosphates, hydropower potential
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 20.96%
permanent crops: 0.61%
other: 78.43% (2001)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
2,700 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
monsoonal rains (June to November); flooding; occasional droughts
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
illegal logging activities throughout the country and strip mining for gems in the western region along the border with Thailand have resulted in habitat loss and declining biodiversity (in particular, destruction of mangrove swamps threatens natural fisheries); soil erosion; in rural areas, most of the population does not have access to potable water; declining fish stocks because of illegal fishing and overfishing
Environment - international agreements:
Definition Field Listing
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Law of the Sea
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
a land of paddies and forests dominated by the Mekong River and Tonle Sap
   People    Cambodia Top of Page
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
note: estimates for this country take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality and death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 37.3% (male 2,559,734/female 2,510,235)
15-64 years: 59.7% (male 3,887,642/female 4,232,313)
65 years and over: 3.1% (male 150,862/female 266,283) (2005 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 19.91 years
male: 19.16 years
female: 20.79 years (2005 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
1.81% (2005 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
27.08 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
8.97 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.57 male(s)/female
total population: 0.94 male(s)/female (2005 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 71.48 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 80.13 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 62.43 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 58.92 years
male: 56.98 years
female: 60.95 years (2005 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.44 children born/woman (2005 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.6% (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
170,000 (2003 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
15,000 (2003 est.)
Major infectious diseases:
Definition Field Listing
degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, malaria, and Japanese encephalitis are high risks in some locations (2004)
Definition Field Listing
noun: Cambodian(s)
adjective: Cambodian
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
Khmer 90%, Vietnamese 5%, Chinese 1%, other 4%
Definition Field Listing
Theravada Buddhist 95%, other 5%
Definition Field Listing
Khmer (official) 95%, French, English
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 73.6%
male: 84.7%
female: 64.1% (2004 est.)
   Government    Cambodia Top of Page
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: Kingdom of Cambodia
conventional short form: Cambodia
local long form: Preahreacheanacha Kampuchea (phonetic pronunciation)
local short form: Kampuchea
former: Kingdom of Cambodia, Khmer Republic, Democratic Kampuchea, People's Republic of Kampuchea, State of Cambodia
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
multiparty democracy under a constitutional monarchy established in September 1993
Definition Field Listing
Phnom Penh
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
20 provinces (khaitt, singular and plural) and 4 municipalities (krong, singular and plural)
: provinces: Banteay Mean Chey, Batdambang, Kampong Cham, Kampong Chhnang, Kampong Spoe, Kampong Thum, Kampot, Kandal, Koh Kong, Kracheh, Mondol Kiri, Otdar Mean Chey, Pouthisat, Preah Vihear, Prey Veng, Rotanakir, Siem Reab, Stoeng Treng, Svay Rieng, Takao
: municipalities: Keb, Pailin, Phnom Penh, Preah Seihanu
Definition Field Listing
9 November 1953 (from France)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Independence Day, 9 November (1953)
Definition Field Listing
promulgated 21 September 1993
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
primarily a civil law mixture of French-influenced codes from the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) period, royal decrees, and acts of the legislature, with influences of customary law and remnants of communist legal theory; increasing influence of common law in recent years
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
chief of state: King Norodom SIHAMONI (since 29 October 2004)
head of government: Prime Minister HUN SEN (since 14 January 1985) and Deputy Prime Ministers SAR KHENG (since 3 February 1992), Norodom SIRIVUDH, SOK AN, LU LAY SRENG, TEA BANH, HOR NAMHONG, NHEK BUNCHHAY (since 16 July 2004)
cabinet: Council of Ministers in theory appointed by the monarch; in practice named by the prime minister
elections: none; the monarch is chosen by a Royal Throne Council; following legislative elections, a member of the majority party or majority coalition is named prime minister by the Chairman of the National Assembly and appointed by the king
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing
bicameral, consists of the National Assembly (123 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms) and the Senate (61 seats; two members appointed by the monarch, two elected by the National Assembly, and 57 elected by "functional constituencies"; members serve five-year terms)
elections: National Assembly - last held 27 July 2003 (next to be held in July 2008); Senate - last held 2 March 1999 (scheduled to be held in 2004 but delayed)
election results: National Assembly - percent of vote by party - CPP 47%, SRP 22%, FUNCINPEC 21%, other 10%; seats by party - CPP 73, FUNCINPEC 26, SRP 24; Senate - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - CPP 31, FUNCINPEC 21, SRP 7, other 2 (July 2003)
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
Supreme Council of the Magistracy (provided for in the constitution and formed in December 1997); Supreme Court (and lower courts) exercises judicial authority
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
Cambodian Pracheachon Party (Cambodian People's Party) or CPP [CHEA SIM]; National United Front for an Independent, Neutral, Peaceful, and Cooperative Cambodia or FUNCINPEC [Prince NORODOM Ranariddh]; Sam Rangsi Party or SRP [SAM RANGSI]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador EK SEREYWATH
chancery: 4530 16th Street NW, Washington, DC 20011
telephone: [1] (202) 726-7742
FAX: [1] (202) 726-8381
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Joseph A. MUSSOMELI
embassy: 27 EO Street 240, Phnom Penh
mailing address: Box P, APO AP 96546
telephone: [855] (23) 216-436/438
FAX: [855] (23) 216-437/811
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
three horizontal bands of blue (top), red (double width), and blue with a white three-towered temple representing Angkor Wat outlined in black in the center of the red band; only national flag to incorporate a building in its design
   Economy    Cambodia Top of Page
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
Cambodia's economy slowed dramatically in 1997 and 1998 due to the regional economic crisis, civil violence, and political infighting, and foreign investment and tourism decreased. In 1999, the first full year of peace in 30 years, the government made progress on economic reforms. Growth resumed and remained about 5% from 2000 to 2004. Economic growth has been largely driven by expansion in the garment sector and tourism, but is expected to fall in 2005 as growth in the garment sector stalls. Clothing exports were fostered by a US-Cambodian Bilateral Textile Agreement signed in 1999 which gave Cambodia a guaranteed quota of US textile imports and established a bonus for improving working conditions and enforcing Cambodian labor laws and international labor standards in the industry. With the January 2005 expiration of a WTO Agreement on Textiles and Clothing, Cambodia-based textile producers are in direct competition with lower priced producing countries such as China and India. Faced with the possibility that over the next five years Cambodia may lose orders and some of the 250,000 well-paid jobs the industry provides, Cambodia has committed itself to a policy of continued support for high labor standards in an attempt to maintain favor with buyers. Tourism growth remains strong, with arrivals up 15% in 2004. The long-term development of the economy after decades of war remains a daunting challenge. The population lacks education and productive skills, particularly in the poverty-ridden countryside, which suffers from an almost total lack of basic infrastructure. Fully 75% of the population remains engaged in subsistence farming. Fear of renewed political instability and a dysfunctional legal system coupled with extensive government corruption discourage foreign investment. The Cambodian government continues to work with bilateral and multilateral donors to address the country's many pressing needs. In December 2004, official donors pledged $504 million in aid for 2005 on the condition that the Cambodian government begins taking steps to address rampant corruption. The next donor pledging session is scheduled for December 2005. The major economic challenge for Cambodia over the next decade will be fashioning an economic environment in which the private sector can create enough jobs to handle Cambodia's demographic imbalance. More than 50% of the population is 20 years or younger.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$26.99 billion (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
5.4% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $2,000 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 35%
industry: 30%
services: 35% (2004 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
7 million (2003 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture 75% (2004 est.)
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.5% (2000 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
40% (2004 est.)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: 2.9%
highest 10%: 33.8% (1997)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
Definition Field Listing
40 (2004 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3.1% (2004 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
20.9% of GDP (2004 est.)
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $548.2 million
expenditures: $836.7 million, including capital expenditures of $291 million of which 75% was financed by external assistance (2004 est.)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
rice, rubber, corn, vegetables, cashews, tapioca
Definition Field Listing
tourism, garments, rice milling, fishing, wood and wood products, rubber, cement, gem mining, textiles
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
22% (2002 est.)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
122 million kWh (2003)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
100.6 million kWh (2002)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2002)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
0 kWh (2002)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
7,200 bbl/day (2002 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
Current account balance:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$-316.2 million (2004 est.)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$2.311 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
Clothing, timber, rubber, rice, fish, tobacco, footwear
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
US 55.9%, Germany 11.7%, UK 6.9%, Vietnam 4.4%, Canada 4.2% (2004)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$3.129 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
petroleum products, cigarettes, gold, construction materials, machinery, motor vehicles, pharmaceutical products
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
Thailand 22.5%, Hong Kong 14.1%, China 13.6%, Vietnam 10.9%, Singapore 10.8%, Taiwan 8.4% (2004)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$997.5 million (2004 est.)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$2.4 billion (2002 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
$504 million pledged in grants and concessional loans for 2005 by international donors
Currency (code):
Definition Field Listing
riel (KHR)
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
riels per US dollar - 4,016.25 (2004), 3,973.33 (2003), 3,912.08 (2002), 3,916.33 (2001), 3,840.75 (2000)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
calendar year
   Communications    Cambodia Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
35,400 (2002)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
380,000 (2002)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: adequate landline and/or cellular service in Phnom Penh and other provincial cities; mobile phone coverage is rapidly expanding in rural areas
domestic: NA
international: country code - 855; adequate but expensive landline and cellular service available to all countries from Phnom Penh and major provincial cities; satellite earth station - 1 Intersputnik (Indian Ocean region)
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 2, FM 17, (2003)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
7 (2003)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
Internet hosts:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
818 (2003)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
30,000 (2002)
   Transportation    Cambodia Top of Page
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 602 km
narrow gauge: 602 km 1.000-m gauge (2004)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 12,323 km
paved: 1,996 km
unpaved: 10,327 km (2000 est)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2,400 km (mainly on Mekong River) (2004)
Ports and harbors:
Definition Field Listing
Phnom Penh
Merchant marine:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 479 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 1,913,910 GRT/2,713,967 DWT
by type: bulk carrier 34, cargo 396, chemical tanker 9, container 6, livestock carrier 3, passenger/cargo 3, petroleum tanker 11, refrigerated cargo 11, roll on/roll off 5, specialized tanker 1
foreign-owned: 193 (Canada 4, China 39, China 2, Cyprus 4, Egypt 5, Estonia 2, France 1, Germany 1, Greece 6, Honduras 1, Hong Kong 3, Indonesia 1, Isle of Man 1, Israel 1, Italy 1, Japan 1, Lebanon 1, Nigeria 2, Norway 1, Russia 58, Singapore 5, South Korea 23, Syria 8, Turkey 7, Ukraine 6, UAE 1, United States 7, Yemen 1) (2005)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
20 (2004 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 6
2,438 to 3,047 m: 2
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2004 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 14
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 11
under 914 m: 1 (2004 est.)
Definition Field Listing
2 (2004 est.)
   Military    Cambodia Top of Page
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Royal Cambodian Armed Forces: Army, Navy, Air Force
Military service age and obligation:
Definition Field Listing
18-30 years of age for compulsory military service for all males; conscription law passed September 2004; service obligation is 18 months (September 2004)
Manpower available for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 2,981,823 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 1,844,144 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males: 175,305 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$112 million (FY01 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3% (FY01 est.)
   Transnational Issues    Cambodia Top of Page
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
Southeast Asian states have enhanced border surveillance to check the spread of avian flu; Cambodia and Thailand dispute sections of boundary with missing boundary markers and Thai encroachments into Cambodian territory; maritime boundary with Vietnam is hampered by unresolved dispute over offshore islands; Cambodia accuses Thailand of obstructing access to Preah Vihear temple ruins awarded to Cambodia by ICJ decision in 1962; in 2004 Cambodian-Laotian and Laotian-Vietnamese boundary commissions reerect missing markers completing most of their demarcations
Illicit drugs:
Definition Field Listing
narcotics-related corruption reportedly involving some in the government, military, and police; possible small-scale opium, heroin, and amphetamine production; large producer of cannabis for the international market; vulnerable to money laundering due to its cash-based economy and porous borders

This page was last updated on 20 October, 2005

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