About Cambodia [ Country ]

Here we've distilled information and facts from various sources about the location, size, population, geography, transport, climate, economy, history, government, law, and so on, of Cambodia; into a view that makes sense for a traveller to, or within, this country.

Location

Southeastern Asia, bordering the Gulf of Thailand, between Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos

Climate

Tropical; rainy, monsoon season (May to November); dry season (December to April); little seasonal temperature variation

Terrain

Mostly low, flat plains; mountains in southwest and north

Elevation

lowest point: Gulf of Thailand 0 m
highest point: Phnum Aoral 1,810 m

Geo Notes

A land of paddies and forests dominated by the Mekong River and Tonle Sap

Approved Official Names

conventional long form: Kingdom of Cambodia
conventional short form: Cambodia
local long form: Preahreacheanachakr Kampuchea (phonetic pronunciation)
local short form: Kampuchea
former: Khmer Republic, Democratic Kampuchea, People's Republic of Kampuchea, State of Cambodia

Capital City

name: Phnom Penh
geographic coordinates: 11 33 N, 104 55 E
time difference: UTC+7

Administrative Divisions

23 provinces (khett, singular and plural) and 1 municipality (krong, singular and plural)
provinces: Banteay Mean Choay, Batdambang, Kampong Cham, Kampong Chhnang, Kampong Spoe, Kampong Thum, Kampot, Kandal, Kaoh Kong, Keb, Krachen, Mondol Kiri, Otdar Mean Choay, Pailin, Pouthisat, Preah Seihanu (Sihanoukville), Preah Vihear, Prey Veng, Rotanokiri, Siem Reab, Stoeng Treng, Svay Rieng, Takev
municipalities: Phnum Penh (Phnom Penh)

Natuaral Hazards

Monsoonal rains (June to November); flooding; occasional droughts

Environmental Issues

Illegal logging activities throughout the country and strip mining for gems in the western region along the border with Thailand have resulted in habitat loss and declining biodiversity (in particular, destruction of mangrove swamps threatens natural fisheries); soil erosion; in rural areas, most of the population does not have access to potable water; declining fish stocks because of illegal fishing and overfishing

Infectious Diseases

degree of risk: very high
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, and malaria
note: highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza has been identified in this country

Life Expectancy

total population: 62.28 years
male: 59.95 years
female: 64.72 years (2010 est.)

Sex Ratio

at birth: 1.045 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.6 male(s)/female
total population: 0.96 male(s)/female (2010 est.)

Languages Spoken

Khmer (official) 95%, French, English

Religions Practiced

Buddhist 96.4%, Muslim 2.1%, other 1.3%, unspecified 0.2% (1998 census)

Legal System

Primarily a civil law mixture of French-influenced codes from the United Nations Transitional Authority in Cambodia (UNTAC) period, royal decrees, and acts of the legislature with influences of customary law and remnants of communist legal theory; increasing influence of common law; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations

National Holiday

Independence Day, 9 November (1953)

Illicit Drugs

Narcotics-related corruption reportedly involving some in the government, military, and police; limited methamphetamine production; vulnerable to money laundering due to its cash-based economy and porous borders

Telephone System

general assessment: adequate fixed-line and/or cellular service in Phnom Penh and other provincial cities; mobile-cellular phone systems are widely used in urban areas to bypass deficiencies in the fixed-line network; mobile-phone coverage is rapidly expanding in rural areas
domestic: fixed-line connections stand at well less than 1 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular usage, aided by increasing competition among service providers, is increasing and stands at 40 per 100 persons
international: country code - 855; adequate but expensive landline and cellular service available to all countries from Phnom Penh and major provincial cities; satellite earth station - 1 Intersputnik (Indian Ocean region) (2009)

Broadcast Media

Mixture of state-owned, joint public-private, and privately-owned broadcast media; 9 TV broadcast stations with most operating on multiple channels, including 1 state-operated station broadcasting from multiple locations, 6 stations either jointly operated or privately-owned with some broadcasting from several locations, and 2 TV relay stations - one relaying a French television station and the other relaying a Vietnamese television station; multi-channel cable and satellite systems are available; roughly 50 radio broadcast stations - 1 state-owned broadcaster with multiple stations and a large mixture of public and private broadcasters; several international broadcasters are available (2009)

Background

Most Cambodians consider themselves to be Khmers, descendants of the Angkor Empire that extended over much of Southeast Asia and reached its zenith between the 10th and 13th centuries. Attacks by the Thai and Cham (from present-day Vietnam) weakened the empire, ushering in a long period of decline. The king placed the country under French protection in 1863 and it became part of French Indochina in 1887. Following Japanese occupation in World War II, Cambodia gained full independence from France in 1953. In April 1975, after a five-year struggle, Communist Khmer Rouge forces captured Phnom Penh and evacuated all cities and towns. At least 1.5 million Cambodians died from execution, forced hardships, or starvation during the Khmer Rouge regime under POL POT. A December 1978 Vietnamese invasion drove the Khmer Rouge into the countryside, began a 10-year Vietnamese occupation, and touched off almost 13 years of civil war. The 1991 Paris Peace Accords mandated democratic elections and a ceasefire, which was not fully respected by the Khmer Rouge. UN-sponsored elections in 1993 helped restore some semblance of normalcy under a coalition government. Factional fighting in 1997 ended the first coalition government, but a second round of national elections in 1998 led to the formation of another coalition government and renewed political stability. The remaining elements of the Khmer Rouge surrendered in early 1999. Some of the surviving Khmer Rouge leaders have been tried or are awaiting trial for crimes against humanity by a hybrid UN-Cambodian tribunal supported by international assistance. Elections in July 2003 were relatively peaceful, but it took one year of negotiations between contending political parties before a coalition government was formed. In October 2004, King Norodom SIHANOUK abdicated the throne and his son, Prince Norodom SIHAMONI, was selected to succeed him. Local elections were held in Cambodia in April 2007, with little of the pre-election violence that preceded prior elections. National elections in July 2008 were relatively peaceful.

Economy Overview

From 2004 to 2007, the economy grew about 10% per year, driven largely by an expansion in the garment sector, construction, agriculture, and tourism. GDP dropped to below 7% growth in 2008 and probably contracted in 2009 as a result of the global economic slowdown. With the January 2005 expiration of a WTO Agreement on Textiles and Clothing, Cambodian textile producers were forced to compete directly with lower-priced countries such as China, India, Vietnam, and Bangladesh. The garment industry currently employs more than 280,000 people -about 5% of the work force - and contributes more than 70% of Cambodia's exports. In 2005, exploitable oil deposits were found beneath Cambodia's territorial waters, representing a new revenue stream for the government if commercial extraction begins. Mining also is attracting significant investor interest, particularly in the northern parts of the country. The government has said opportunities exist for mining bauxite, gold, iron and gems. In 2006, a US-Cambodia bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) was signed, and several rounds of discussions have been held since 2007. Rubber exports increased about 25% in 2009 due to rising global demand. The tourism industry has continued to grow rapidly, with foreign arrivals exceeding 2 million per year in 2007-08, however, economic troubles abroad dampened growth in 2009. The global financial crisis is weakening demand for Cambodian exports, and construction is declining due to a shortage of credit. The long-term development of the economy remains a daunting challenge. The Cambodian government is working with bilateral and multilateral donors, including the World Bank and IMF, to address the country's many pressing needs. The major economic challenge for Cambodia over the next decade will be fashioning an economic environment in which the private sector can create enough jobs to handle Cambodia's demographic imbalance. More than 50% of the population is less than 21 years old. The population lacks education and productive skills, particularly in the poverty-ridden countryside, which suffers from an almost total lack of basic infrastructure.

National Anthem

name: "Nokoreach" (Royal Kingdom)
lyrics/music: CHUON NAT/F. PERRUCHOT and J. JEKYLL
note: adopted 1941, restored 1993; the anthem, based on a Cambodian folk tune, was restored after the defeat of the Communist regime

Cambodia location map
Size

total: 181,035 sq km
land: 176,515 sq km
water: 4,520 sq km

Cambodia flag
Population

14,453,680 (July 2010 est.)

Nationality

noun: Cambodian(s)
adjective: Cambodian

Ethnic Groups

Khmer 90%, Vietnamese 5%, Chinese 1%, other 4%

HIV/AIDS Rate

0.8% (2007 est.)

Independence Date

9 November 1953 (from France)

Government Type

Multiparty democracy under a constitutional monarchy

Voting Rights

18 years of age; universal

Internet Users

74,000 (2008)

Internet Hosts

5,452 (2010)

Internet Country Code

.kh

Number Airports

17 (2010)

Number Paved Airports

total: 6
2,438 to 3,047 m: 3
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2010)

Number Heliports

1 (2010)

Railways

total: 690 km
narrow gauge: 690 km 1.000-m gauge
note: under restoration (2010)

Roadways

total: 38,093 km
paved: 2,977 km
unpaved: 35,116 km (2007)

Inland Waterways

2,400 km (mainly on Mekong River) (2008)

Ports & Terminals

Phnom Penh, Kampong Saom (Sihanoukville)

National Budget

revenues: $1.185 billion
expenditures: $1.84 billion (2009 est.)

Account Balance

-$865.7 million (2009 est.)
-$1.051 billion (2008 est.)

Exchange Rates

riels (KHR) per US dollar - 4,135.39 (2009), 4,070.94 (2008), 4,006 (2007), 4,103 (2006), 4,092.5 (2005)

Inflation Rate

-0.7% (2009 est.)
25% (2008 est.)

Main Industries

Tourism, garments, construction, rice milling, fishing, wood and wood products, rubber, cement, gem mining, textiles

Agricultural Products

Rice, rubber, corn, vegetables, cashews, tapioca, silk

Labor Force

8 million (2009 est.)

Main Occupations

agriculture: 67.9%
industry: 12.7%
services: 19.5% (2009 est.)

Unemployment Rate

3.5% (2007 est.)
2.5% (2000 est.)

GDP (USD Parity)

$27.88 billion (2009 est.)
$28.3 billion (2008 est.)
$26.95 billion (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

GDP Per Capita

$2,000 (2009 est.)
$2,000 (2008 est.)
$2,000 (2007 est.)
note: data are in 2009 US dollars

Family Income Percent

lowest 10%: 3%
highest 10%: 34.2% (2007)

Family Income Gini

43 (2007 est.)
40 (2004 est.)

Below Poverty

31% (2004)