In the last generation, Cambodia has displayed a remarkable post-conflict journey: from a devastated post-conflict economy in 1993 estimated to a lower MIC in 2018. IFAD has accompanied Cambodia's development journey since the late 1990s; its country program moving from recovery and food security to building institutions to now focusing on markets and supporting Cambodia in its quest to reach upper MIC (middle income country) status.
Overall, Cambodian GDP growth has averaged about 7.7 per cent between 1995 and 2018. Poverty declined from 47.8 per cent in 2007 to about 13.5 per cent in 2014. About 25 per cent of the population is still considered near-poor and vulnerable, dropping into poverty when exposed to shocks.
In Cambodia, IFAD loans support rural and agricultural development through a programmatic approach. Activities target the provinces with the highest rates of poverty and within those provinces, the poorest rural people and communities. The IFAD country strategic opportunities programme, currently covering IFAD's strategy till 2021, supports the government's poverty reduction initiatives. All IFAD projects are aligned with the Government's national development strategies, in particular the Royal Government of Cambodia's Rectangular Strategy Phase IV.
Key activities include:
- Enabling poor smallholders to take advantage of market opportunities;
- Increasing resilience to climate change and other shocks in poor rural households and communities;
- Improving poor households' access to rural services.
In Cambodia, 79 per cent of the population lives in rural areas, depending mostly on agriculture for their livelihoods.
There is low coverage of sustainable infrastructure with only about 2,000 km of the 45,000 km rural road network being hard-paved.