According to a recent World Bank analysis, Cambodia’s national poverty rate reduced by nearly half between 2009 and 2019.
According to the World Bank’s Poverty Assessment Report for Cambodia, Toward A More Inclusive and Resilient Cambodia, the poverty rate in Cambodia decreased from 33.8 percent to 17.8 percent over the ten-year period to 2019/2020, with nearly 2 million Cambodians exiting poverty.
The rate has risen by 2.8 percentage points since 2020 as a result of the Covid19 pandemic, which means that almost 460,000 more people now fall below the poverty line.
Cambodia saw ten years of growth and widespread income increases between 2009 and 2019. The combination of structural transformation and rapid economic expansion resulted in greater living standards and rising wages.
The report shows that higher non-farm earnings, such as those in the tourist, garment, and construction industries, were mainly responsible for the decline in poverty. Growth driven by trade and investment helped shift the economy’s structural composition toward more productive industries, resulting in higher-paying manufacturing and service jobs. Workers were able to leave the low-paying agricultural industry and transfer into more lucrative economic sectors, boosting their income.
Living conditions and access to necessities like power, water supply, sanitary facilities, health care, and education improved at the same time for large sections of the population. As a result of this improvement, the gap in living standards between rural and urban households has decreased.
The report recommended Cambodia to take a number of public steps to enable a more fair and long-lasting recovery from the pandemic and the accompanying economic disruptions.
A few of them are targeted cash transfers, actions to strengthen social protections, spending on health care, and spending on education.
According to World Bank country manager Maryam Salim, The amount of poverty has decreased thanks to initiatives to accelerate Cambodia’s structural development. Nonetheless, many households continued to be at risk since they had nothing in the way of savings or safety nets, despite this remarkable performance. This meant that Covid-19 caused a blow to the nation’s efforts to eradicate poverty as employment and incomes fell.
H.E Samheng Boros is Minister attached to the Prime Minister , Royal Government of Cambodia and Chairman of National Social Assistance Fund Board (NSAF) and Secretary of State at the Ministry of Social Affairs, Veterans and Youth Rehabilitation (MoSVY), said to The Better Cambodia that, “ To help families impacted by the COVID-19 issue, the Royal Government of Cambodia has spent 2,613 billion Riel, or $653 million, in its cash transfer program. The program helped nearly 750,000 families during that time. The needy and vulnerable have received cash assistance ever since the program’s launch in June 2020.”
“This emergency action has served to alleviate the burden on the lives of the poor and vulnerable households across the country, in both urban and rural areas.”
“Social security is essential for protecting people’s rights, dignity, and well-being as well as for providing for their families. To address people’s requirements, programs alone will not be enough; increased access to appropriate long-term care is needed. Therefore, social security needs to be improved before the next crisis,” he added.
Source: The PhnomPenh Post