PHNOM PENH, June 5 (Xinhua) -- Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen said here on Monday that the Southeast Asian nation is projected to graduate from a least developed country status by 2027.
"I'm very confident that Cambodia will graduate from least developed country status by 2027 at the latest and will achieve our goal of becoming an upper-middle income country in 2030," he said in a speech during the graduation ceremony of nearly 6,000 students at the Royal University of Law and Economics.
"Maintaining peace and political stability is the most important prerequisite to achieve these targets," he said.
Hun Sen said the kingdom's economy has recovered well in the post-COVID-19 pandemic era, with GDP growth being forecast at 5.6 percent in 2023, up from 5.2 percent in 2022.
Cambodian Ministry of Commerce's undersecretary of state and spokesman Penn Sovicheat said the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, the Cambodia-China Free Trade Agreement, and the Cambodia-Republic of Korea FTA will help Cambodia graduate from its least developed country status and achieve its goals of becoming an upper-middle income country in 2030 and a high-income nation by 2050.
"The RCEP, along with other bilateral FTAs, has not only given a boost to the kingdom's sustainable trade growth, but also become a magnet to attract more foreign direct investments," he told Xinhua.
The RCEP agreement comprises 15 Asia-Pacific countries including 10 ASEAN member states - Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam - and their five trading partners, namely China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) said in its report last week that two decades after its inclusion on the list of least developed countries, Cambodia met the graduation criteria for the first time in 2021, with plans to graduate as early as 2027.
"This is a major achievement, as graduation from least developed country status means that a country has achieved significant economic and social development goals," the report said.