A senior French official has called on his countrymen to invest more in Cambodia, citing rapid economic growth, a burgeoning middle class and an overall healthy investment climate.
French foreign trade minister Olivier Becht paid a visit to the Kingdom from January 24-25, accompanied by a business delegation led by MEDEF International and Business France, in a bid to enhance diplomatic and business relations between the two countries.
During his visit, Becht was scheduled to meet with members of the “5,000-strong” French community in Cambodia, including representatives of the “very dynamic” business circles, Paris’ embassy in Phnom Penh had noted in a statement.
On January 25, the official and his entourage met Prime Minister Hun Sen at the Peace Palace. Details of the meeting were revealed by the premier’s personal assistant Eang Sophalleth.
Speaking to Hun Sen, the French business delegation voiced confidence in investing in Cambodia, citing the Kingdom’s spectacular leap from ruins to register average annual economic growth of seven per cent for the 20-year period prior to Covid-19, continued reforms, favourable investment environment, and fairly large middle-income class.
For these reasons, Becht said, French investors are sizing up investment opportunities in the Kingdom, in domains such as high-speed rail; land, water and air transport; construction; and energy.
The premier brought up Cambodia’s open investment policy, which he noted generally allows foreign entities to retain 100 per cent ownership of major ventures in the Kingdom.
He touched on a high-speed railway planned from Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh City and that the two existing rail lines are slated for expansion, commenting that the private sector is encouraged to apply for the projects, which he said are to be implemented on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis.
The BOT model is a form of project financing where the public sector grants concessions to a private entity to build and operate projects for a specified period a time, after which ownership is typically transferred back to the government.
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Author: May Kunmakara
Source: The Phnom Penh Post
Publication Date: 25 January 2023