However, progress has been lagging in other areas, in particular the effective management of natural resources and environmental sustainability. In addition, the pursuit of good governance continues to be a challenge. Corruption and poor public services delivery are impeding inclusive development.
Cambodia’s economy grew at almost 10 percent per year between 1998 and 2008. Although this remarkable growth was interrupted by the global economic downturn in 2008-09, Cambodia staged a strong recovery in 2010 and 2011, with Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of 6.0 percent. This growth momentum is expected to further increase to 6.5 percent annually in 2012 and 2013, driven by strong exports, private investment, and a solid macroeconomic position.
The rapid economic growth created employment opportunities which contributed to the decline in poverty headcount from 47.5 percent in 1993-94 to 34.7% in 2004. From 2004-09 Cambodia saw an even steeper decline in poverty rates. The World Bank’s estimates suggest that Cambodia has achieved the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving poverty by 2009. However, despite this remarkable progress, rural poverty remains a challenge, with 92 percent of the poor residing in the country side.
Cambodia’s progress in meeting the other MDGs is also encouraging. Thanks to a expansion of maternal health and early childhood care and primary education programs in rural areas, particularly strong progress has been made in areas such as child mortality (the under 5 mortality rate has decreased from 124 per 1,000 live births in 1998 to 83 in 2006 to 54 in 2010), primary education (the net primary admission rate increased from 81 in 2001 to 92.4 in 2008); and maternal mortality (the number of deaths per 100,000 live births decreased from 472 in 2005 to 206 in 2010). Cambodia has also been successful in HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment. As of 2010, 90 percent of people infected with HIV/AIDS in Cambodia have access to antiretroviral treatment, coverage which is among the highest in the developing world.