Facts about Cambodia

World Facts Index

CambodiaMost 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 remaining Khmer Rouge leaders are awaiting trial by a UN-sponsored tribunal for crimes against humanity. 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 SIHANOUK abdicated the throne due to illness and his son, Prince Norodom SIHAMONI, was selected to succeed him. Local elections were held in Cambodia in April 2007, and there was little in the way of pre-election violence that preceded prior elections. National elections are scheduled for July 2008.

Geography of Cambodia

Location:
Southeastern Asia, bordering the Gulf of Thailand, between Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos
Coordinates:
13 00 N, 105 00 E
Area:
total: 181,040 sq km
land: 176,520 sq km
water: 4,520 sq km
Area comparative:
slightly smaller than Oklahoma
Land boundaries:
total: 2,572 km
border countries: Laos 541 km, Thailand 803 km, Vietnam 1,228 km
Coastline:
443 km
Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
continental shelf: 200 NM
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
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 extremes:
lowest point: Gulf of Thailand 0 m
highest point: Phnum Aoral 1,810 m
Natural resources:
timber, gemstones, some iron ore, manganese, phosphates, hydropower potential
Natural hazards:
monsoonal rains (June to November); flooding; occasional droughts
Environment - current 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, a majority of the population does not have access to potable water; toxic waste delivery from Taiwan sparked unrest in Kampong Saom (Sihanoukville) in December 1998
Geography - note:
a land of paddies and forests dominated by the Mekong River and Tonle Sap

More Geography

Population of Cambodia

Population:
14,241,640 (July 2008 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 35.6% (male 2,497,595/female 2,447,754)
15-64 years: 61% (male 4,094,946/female 4,370,159)
65 years and over: 3.4% (male 180,432/female 290,541)
Median age:
20.6 years
Growth rate:
1.78%
Infant mortality:
68.78 deaths/1,000 live births
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 59.29 years
male: 57.35 years
female: 61.32 years
Total fertility rate:
3.37 children born/woman
Nationality:
noun: Cambodian(s)
adjective: Cambodian
Ethnic groups:
Khmer 90%, Vietnamese 5%, Chinese 1%, other 4%
Religions:
Theravada Buddhist 95%, other 5%
Languages:
Khmer (official) 95%, French, English
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 73.6%
male: 84.7%
female: 64.1% 

Government

Country name:
conventional long form: Kingdom of Cambodia
local short form: Kampuchea
local long form: Preahreacheanacha Kampuchea (phonetic pronunciation)
former: Kingdom of Cambodia, Khmer Republic, Democratic Kampuchea, People's Republic of Kampuchea, State of Cambodia
Government type:
multiparty democracy under a constitutional monarchy established in September 1993
Capital:
Phnom Penh
Administrative divisions:
20 provinces (khaitt, singular and plural) and 4 municipalities* (krong, singular and plural); Banteay Mean Chey, Batdambang, Kampong Cham, Kampong Chhnang, Kampong Spoe, Kampong Thum, Kampot, Kandal, Koh Kong, Keb*, Kracheh, Mondol Kiri, Otdar Mean Chey, Pailin*, Phnom Penh*, Pouthisat, Preah Sihanouk (formerly Kompong Som)*, Preah Vihear, Prey Veng, Rotanakir, Siem Reab, Stoeng Treng, Svay Rieng, Takao
Independence:
9 November 1953 (from France)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 9 November (1953)
Constitution:
promulgated 21 September 1993
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 in recent years
Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: King Norodom SIHAMONI (since 29 October 2004)
head of government: Prime Minister HUN SEN (since 14 January 1985) [co-prime minister from 1993 to 1997]; Permanent Deputy Prime Minister MEN SAM AN (since 25 September 2008); Deputy Prime Ministers SAR KHENG (since 3 February 1992); SOK AN, TEA BANH, HOR NAMHONG, NHEK BUNCHHAY (since 16 July 2004); BIN CHHIN (since 5 September 2007); KEAT CHHON, YIM CHHAI LY (since 25 September 2008)
Legislative branch:
bicameral, consists of the National Assembly (123 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms) and the Senate (61 seats; 2 members appointed by the monarch, 2 elected by the National Assembly, and 57 elected by parliamentarians and commune councils; members serve five-year terms)
Judicial branch:
Supreme Council of the Magistracy (provided for in the constitution and formed in December 1997); Supreme Court (and lower courts) exercises judicial authority

Economy

From 2001 to 2004, the economy grew at an average rate of 6.4%, driven largely by an expansion in the garment sector and tourism. The US and Cambodia signed a Bilateral Textile Agreement, which gave Cambodia a guaranteed quota of US textile imports and established a bonus for improving working conditions and enforcing Cambodian labor laws and international labor standards in the industry. With the January 2005 expiration of a WTO Agreement on Textiles and Clothing, Cambodia-based textile producers were forced to compete directly with lower-priced producing countries such as China and India. Better-than-expected garment sector performance led to more than 9% growth in 2007. Its vibrant garment industry employs more than 350,000 people and contributes more than 70% of Cambodia's exports. The Cambodian government has committed itself to a policy supporting high labor standards in an attempt to maintain buyer interest. In 2005, exploitable oil and natural gas 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 northeastern parts of the country, and 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 the first round of discussions took place in early 2007. The tourism industry continues to grow rapidly, with foreign arrivals reaching 2 million in 2007. In 2007 the government signed a joint venture agreement with two companies to form a new national airline. 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.

GDP:
$26.19 billion (2007 est.)
GDP growth rate:
6%
GDP per capita:
$2,200
GDP composition by sector:
agriculture: 35%
industry: 30%
services: 35%
Inflation rate:
5.8%
Labor force:
7 million
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 75% 
Unemployment:
2.5%
Budget:
revenues: $559.4 million
expenditures: $772 million
Industries:
tourism, garments, rice milling, fishing, wood and wood products, rubber, cement, gem mining, textiles
Electricity production by source:
fossil fuel: 65%
hydro: 35%
other: 0% 
Agriculture:
rice, rubber, corn, vegetables, cashews, tapioca
Exports:
Clothing, timber, rubber, rice, fish, tobacco, footwear
Export partners:
US 59.7%, Germany 10.4%, Vietnam 4.7%, UK 4.6%
Imports:
petroleum products, cigarettes, gold, construction materials, machinery, motor vehicles, pharmaceutical products
Import partners:
Thailand 24.6%, China 14.4%, Hong Kong 13.4%, Vietnam 11.3%, Taiwan 8.7%, Singapore 8.1%, South Korea 4.1%
Currency:
riel (KHR)

SOURCES: The CIA World Factbook, U.S. Department of State, Area Handbook of the US Library of Congress

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