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Cambodia’s Inspiring Journey Towards a Corruption-Free and Prosperous Future

by Surya Narayan
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A Glimpse into Cambodia’s Strides Toward a Brighter Future

Cambodia, a nation that has faced its fair share of challenges throughout history, is now experiencing a remarkable transformation. As an expat who has called Cambodia home since 2019, I have witnessed the incredible transformation this Southeast Asian gem has undergone in recent years.

Corruption is a pervasive issue that plagues countries worldwide, undermining democratic institutions, stalling economic development, and breeding governmental instability. Recognizing the negative impact of corruption on its society, the Royal Government of Cambodia has taken significant steps to address this problem. By enacting a comprehensive anti-corruption law and establishing an independent anti-corruption mechanism, the government has demonstrated its commitment to eradicating this social phenomenon.

The results of these efforts are evident in the daily lives of Cambodians and expats alike. As an expat, I have personally experienced the positive changes in public services.

As I navigated the beautiful streets of Siem Reap, I could notice the air of change sweeping through Cambodia. The transformation is palpable, as the Royal Government of Cambodia is taking significant strides to fight corruption, improve public services, and ensure the country’s continued economic growth. My recent experience obtaining official documents and witnessing the positive attitude of public servants is a testament to these efforts.

In a world where corruption can undermine democratic institutions and slow economic development, Cambodia has made remarkable progress, particularly in reducing petty corruption. The Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) and the Ministry of Interior have worked tirelessly to implement education and prevention strategies, while increasing accountability and improving public services.

My journey began at the immigration police office in Siem Reap, where I sought documents for my driver’s license. The officers I encountered were friendly, supportive, and genuinely committed to helping me. Their warm smiles and greetings put me at ease, and they provided the required documents without soliciting any bribes.

During my journey in Siem Reap, I experienced a refreshing level of transparency and professionalism in both the Immigration Police office and the Svay Dangkum commune office. With friendly, supportive officers providing the necessary documents without soliciting bribes and Police educating citizens about road safety, it’s evident that Cambodia is making progress in combating corruption and building a solid foundation for its future.

My next stop was the Svay Dangkum commune office for business registration paperwork. I was pleasantly surprised to find a well-equipped office staffed with young, smiling employees who efficiently provided the necessary documents, again without any hint of bribery. This level of transparency and professionalism is a promising sign that Cambodia is making progress in combating corruption.

I also observed police officers educating citizens about road safety and enforcing the law without resorting to bribe-taking. It became increasingly clear that the Cambodian government’s efforts to reduce corruption are working, and that a solid foundation is being laid for the country’s future.

Cambodia’s economic performance also paints a bright picture. Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, the nation enjoyed an average growth rate of 7.6% between 1994 and 2015. The World Bank has recognized Cambodia as one of the ten fastest-growing economies in the world over the past two decades. This impressive growth propelled Cambodia from a low-income to a low-middle-income country in 2016. With an expected 6% growth rate in 2023, Cambodia is poised to become one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.

My experience in Cambodia showcases the nation’s progress in fighting corruption, improving public services, and fostering economic growth. The future of Cambodia is undoubtedly promising. As the government continues to tackle corruption head-on and the nation’s economy soars, the foundations for a better Cambodia are being laid. 

With a focus on grassroots development and a commitment to transparency and progress, Cambodia is on track to become a shining example of growth and transformation in Southeast Asia. As we look forward to the continued rise of this beautiful nation, we celebrate the efforts of its dedicated leaders and the resilience of its people in building a brighter future for all.

Photo: Facebook page of Siem Reap Immigration police

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