International investment experts hails Cambodia’s investment environment and see a boon for the agriculture sector during crisis

PHNOM PENH: The world is facing a global crisis, but Cambodia is still a potential destination for foreign investment. The country has a number of advantages that make it attractive to investors.

The Handbook on Investment in Cambodia includes the perspectives of two international investment experts, who share their views on the opportunities and challenges of investing in Cambodia. The handbook also identifies potential sectors for profitability in Cambodia, even during a global crisis.

The handbook is a guide for foreign investors that provides insights into the investment climate in Cambodia.

Chris Robinson, Head of Corporate Mergers & Acquisitions at DFDL, who has extensive experience in investing operations in Cambodia, praised the investment climate in the Cambodian market for foreign investors.

Chris Robinson also an Australian lawyer stated, the Cambodian market has evolved significantly over the past decade. Through efforts to liberalize the market by allowing foreign investment in almost all sectors, Cambodia has attracted consistently strong levels of foreign direct investment, particularly in manufacturing, real estate and construction, agriculture, and service sectors.

He continued that, with relatively low barriers to entry, we have seen an enormous uptick in mergers and acquisitions-related activity over the past five to six years for those now seeking to enter the Cambodian market, particularly in the more mature sectors, such as financial services, telecommunications, and manufacturing.

While the most significant investment interest in Cambodia has originated from North and ASEAN neighbors in recent years, we have seen promising signs of increased investment from Australian companies in select industries, particularly in mining, education, tourism, logistics, supply chain management, property management, and healthcare.

Robert Chelliah believes that Cambodia has the potential to attract foreign investors in agriculture during a global food crisis. He points to the country's young and growing population, its abundance of arable land, and its relatively low labor costs as advantages that could make it an attractive destination for investors.

Robert Chelliah, the founder of LEXMIN, an Australian-affiliated company based in Cambodia that specializes in producing dietary supplements and nutritional food crops to international food safety standards said food security is a growing concern globally while at the same time, the demand for better nutrition is increasing. Food supplements represent a market of $ 54 billion in the US only.

He sees Cambodia could grab this huge potential market. Cambodia offers an interesting perspective in this field: the quality of soil is very rich, particularly in the mountains, the country has manpower and great natural resources, and it is easy to set up a company. There are some challenges linked to the climate and the need to improve agricultural practices, capacity to export, and add value.

Cambodian nine crops/products were selected as having the best prospects for future development and export. The report assesses the characteristics of each crop in the context of market intelligence, global of certain varieties, technical requirements, standards, and opportunities for Cambodia to penetrate international markets as a new player.

Nine export crops/products – mango, dried banana chips, longan, avocado, cashew, sweet potato, chilies, sesame, and palm sugar – were shortlisted using the methodology above. The crops/products selected are in very strong demand globally, driven by powerful marketing campaigns and supported by effective sector marketing.

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