>Cambodia breaks ground on its highest skyscraper

>People pass a model of the International Finance Complex in Phnom Penh which will be Cambodia’s highest building

PHNOM PENH (AFP) — Cambodia on Wednesday broke ground for what will be the country’s highest skycraper, a 52-storey tower slated to become the “landmark” of the low-rise capital Phnom Penh.

The one-billion-dollar International Finance Complex (IFC) is being backed by South Korea’s GS E&C company and is expected to be completed in 2012.

The project is being hailed by Cambodia’s leaders as a symbol of the country’s galloping economy, which has averaged 11 percent growth over the past three years.

“IFC is the highest building in the history of Cambodia’s capital and is a symbol of the economic growth in Cambodia,” said Deputy Prime Minister Sok An.

Kevin K.R. Kim, the Korean firm’s CEO, said the project will contribute to the development of Cambodia and become “the landmark of Phnom Penh city.”

The site, located near the Tonle Bassac River, includes plans for offices, 275 serviced apartments, a convention centre, an international school and six-high-rise apartment buildings accommodating 1,064 units.

The Southeast Asian nation in March broke ground on the country’s first skyscraper, a 42-storey tower.

Cambodia has climbed back from decades of civil unrest to emerge as one of the region’s most vibrant economies, marked by an unprecedented building boom that is radically changing the face of this once-sleepy capital.

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