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Interview: Paul Clements, Director of JADE

“Tough times can also bring opportunities”

Paul Clements - CLR - Profile

“I came to Cambodia in 2009 to work as the Chief Operating Officer in ANZ Royal Bank and have enjoyed my life in Cambodia ever since due to the people, culture, variety of food, and the strong economic growth that has occurred since. This continues to make Phnom Penh a better place to live each year. Currently, I’m Director of Joint Asian Development Enterprises.”

​Phnom Penh has changed considerably with the restoration of some wonderful historical sites, become cleaner, better office and shopping environment, increase in the quality of life and education, and continues to remain safe.​

Sustained growth

Cambodia has a great base for ongoing economic development due to past investment, the drive of its people, and the new dynamic government, but global issues have and will continue to dampen past GDP growth rates. The biggest risk is the tightening of liquidity in the market which will impact some projects and industries.​

Standout sectors

Financial services was the standout sector for many years, and of course garment/textiles is always a big contributor. I expect to see tourism make a slow return, and agriculture will be a major opportunity in the next 5 years. ​

The investment space is very transparent; Cambodia has a golden era ahead

​Cambodia is disadvantaged by the USD and its strength when compared to our neighbours, so we need to ensure a reduction in border costs and improved productivity to get one step ahead.

Paul Clements CLR Profile 2

Regional competition

Cambodia has been a leader in ASEAN with regards to GDP growth and an attractive Investment Policy, so expect Cambodia to continue to attract International FDI. Naturally, the ASEAN Summit in late 2022 and the ASEAN Games has brought Cambodian onto a wider international stage.​

The biggest risk is the tightening of liquidity in the market

Foreign investment

FDI has been a critical contributor to Cambodia over the years, although it has declined due to COVID and more recently due to global woes. That said, the base of international investors continues to expand which supports Cambodia as being an investment choice of many nationalities. 2024 will see an increase in FDI due to ongoing Government polices around Investment and PPPs, and as the international community continues to gain comfort around the new Government under Prime Minister HUN Manet.​

My thinking at present is that tough times also bring opportunities, and sometimes assets are better in the hands of another who can do something better with them.

Looking ahead

With a country that has a young population, plenty of land and water, opportunities continue to exist, and this has been evident over the past 10 years. The investment space is very transparent; Cambodia has a golden era ahead, although a bit slower growth than was once thought.