The Cambodian countryside -province of Svay Riêng, is a lot poorer than those in Vietnam. The great poverty (less than 100 euro/year/person) touches 30-40% of the villagers, compared to about 10% in the provinces of Bình Thuân and Hâu Giang in Vietnam. The GDP/capita is estimated at 880$ (2012)
Cambodia is 6 times bigger than Belgium but only half the size of Vietnam. It has been a lot bigger in the past, during the period of the Angkor empire (10-14th centuries). The population is today 15 million. The Tonle Sap is the largest fresh water reservoir of South East Asia, and is also somehow the heart of the country. Its surface is multiplied five fold during the monsoon. It is the source for 60% of the fish, which counts for 11% of the country's GDP, more than paddy.
The political situation has been tense since August 2013, the government is said to have lost the elections but the results have not been published. Strikes and violence, demonstrations followed, to be later forbidden, so the regime has maintained itself in power.
Oil has been found and could be an important source of income in the near future. Garments industries for exports are an important activity, after the country joined the WTO it has been able to withstand the competition of other countries. The infrastructure is genrally poor.
After the Khmer Rouge decimated the country, focusing especially on the educated people, the level of education is generally poor. Fortunately the teachers' salaries have been doubled recently, and education is free. But for many rural people education is not a high priority as few employment prospects are in sight. Agriculture productivity is very low, several times less than in neighboring Vietnam. Deforestation is a very serious problem. Many poor people are dispossessed of their land, sometimes by force. It is believed about half the country's land has been taken by urban and influential people, for speculation or commercial crops.
Cambodia is ranked 138th in the Human Development Index of UNDP (2013).
PPA (Purchasing Power Adjusted)/hbt