>Cambodian PM Vows Commitment To 7% Annual Economic Growth

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Cambodia’s Prime Minister Hun Sen is seen during the Independence Day celebrations in Phnom Penh November 9, 2008. Cambodia celebrates its 55th anniversary of independence from France on November 9. REUTERS/Chor Sokunthea

PHNOM PENH (AFP)–Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen said Sunday he was committed to maintaining annual economic growth of 7%, after warnings that the country’s red-hot economy would soon slow.
Hun Sen, addressing crowds at the Independence Day celebration, vowed to maintain high gross domestic product growth despite the global financial slowdown, and said the government was committed to reducing poverty by more than 1% a year.
“The government [is] well aware that the strategic plans are highly ambitious amid the global economic crisis,” Hun Sen said at Phnom Penh’s Royal Palace.
“But we depend on our experience, our achievements and determination, and we are very positive that the country will accomplish its visions.”
The International Monetary Fund recently said that Cambodia’s economy is expected to flounder next year as the world crisis deepens.
The country has enjoyed double-digit growth over the past few years, but that will likely ease to 6.5% this year and 4.8% in 2009 as the crisis deepens, IMF official David Cowen said on Friday.
After being written off as a failed state after the devastating 1975-79 Khmer Rouge regime and several decades of civil war, Cambodia has struggled back in recent years to become an improving economic success story.
But despite recent growth, underemployment remains high in Cambodia, while about 35% of the country’s 14 million people live on less than 50 U.S. cents a day.

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