In recent years, an unprecedented amount of financial investments has promoted rapid economic development in the Cambodian coastal province of Preah Sihanouk. China has been the main driver for this exponential growth, contributing 85% of financial investment ($1.1bn out of $1.3bn) in a province that has reportedly seeing a 126% increase in Chinese population in 2017-2018. The province has more factories, resorts, hotels and casinos than ever before and is experiencing a fast-tracked urbanization trend. This development has increased the number of opportunities for many people by creating jobs and businesses in a very short time. However, the economic benefits have been distributed unevenly across the population leaving people behind, especially the most marginalized and vulnerable groups.
Since the ban on gambling announced by PM Hun Sen in August 2019, Sihanoukville is undergoing fast and substantial change. Most casinos stalled their operations, developers have stopped construction on major projects, and nearly 800 restaurants have closed with revenues dropped to 15% of what they were. More recently, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic added one more external shock to these compounding complexities and is expected to have lasting socio-economic impact with significantly slowed economic growth in Cambodia, particularly the tourism sector hit the hardest.
The overall purpose of this project is to conduct a comprehensive assessment, in line with the United Nations Human Security approach and Cambodia’s United Nations Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF), and propose policy and programmatic solutions for the United Nations Country Team (UNCT) and national authorities to capitalise on the surge of investments and improve the living standards of the Cambodian population, including vulnerable groups, in Preah Sihanouk province.
Local government authorities, affected communities, and other stakeholders are informed of the impact and prospects from the rapid economic development and, through the application of the Human Security Business Partnership framework (HSBP), are equipped to devise policies and programmes to address current and emerging challenges and opportunities.
Donors and Key Project Stakeholders
UN Trust Fund for Human Security
Key Project Stakeholders:
UN Country Team (UNCT); UN Human Rights Cambodia