Education Key to Post-Pandemic Economic Growth

During a visit to Cambodia, the World Bank’s regional vice president said investment in education and health is key to Cambodia securing a strong economic bounce back while lauding the country’s successful vaccination program.
Sisowath High School students sits in a final examination on December 27, 2021. Picture: Sam
Sisowath High School students sits in a final examination on December 27, 2021. Picture: Sam

Cambodia should boost investment in education while jump-starting COVID-19 economic recovery, a World Bank senior said during a visit to the nation that saw her praise the country’s effective pandemic response.

“Cambodia is still experiencing the negative impacts of COVID-19 on the economy, which is also being affected by high oil and food prices. With high vaccination rates, testing, and reopening, the country is well positioned to jump start a strong economic recovery,” said World Bank Regional Vice President for East Asia and Pacific Manuela V. Ferro.

“The World Bank is supporting Cambodia on education and health services, economic reforms to increase investment and create new jobs, and increasing access and quality of public services.”

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As part of the March 13 and 17 visit, Ferro met with Prime Minister Hun Sen, senior officials, and members of the private sector in which she welcomed Cambodia’s effective management of COVID-19 and its economic recovery program.

“She noted that the recovery is an opportunity to forge a new growth path – through reforms that would boost the productivity of firms and workers, increase, and diversify investments and exports,” the World Bank said in a statement.

The World Bank portfolio in Cambodia currently comprises more than US$1.1 billion in net commitments.

During a meeting with Ferro on March 16, Hun Sen called his vaccination campaign a “blossoming flower approach” to save lives and the economy, according to his Facebook post.

Hun Sen added that the World Bank has also pledged to help Cambodia “on vigorous steps towards achieving the status of a high-middle-income country”.

Cambodia has vaccinated 92.34% of the total 16 million population. Hun Sen announced on Thursday that foreign travellers are no longer required to do PCR and rapid tests when travelling to the country as part of moves to attract tourists and investment.

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Unvaccinated travellers will still need to quarantine for 14 days. All vaccinated visitors are still urged to do rapid tests themselves despite abolishing these requirements, the Ministry of Health announced on Thursday. It added that visas on arrivals will also be reissued for travellers.

“Cambodia is a poor country but has vaccinated more than 92% of the population. Moreover, we are vaccinating children aged 3 and 4,” Hun Sen said in a speech on Thursday in Prey Veng province.

“Now, Cambodia doesn’t require a PCR test 72 hours before travelling,” Hun Sen said. “Another easing is that when they arrive at our airports, there is no need to do tests, before we had rapid and PCR tests,” he said.