Once the seat of one of Asia’s most grand early civilizations, the mighty Khmer empire of Angkor, Cambodia, has become but a modest player on the world’s economic stage. Marveled by travelers for its beautiful temples and “sleepy towns,” it beholds many untold stories, like the one about poverty.
The Kingdom of Cambodia is rich in natural resources, but decades of war and internal conflict have left it one of the world’s poorest regions. In 2009, about 22.9 percent of Cambodians lived below the national poverty line of US$0.93 per day. Ninety percent of Cambodia’s poor people live in rural areas, according to a country poverty analysis 2014, by the Asian Development Bank.
Who are Cambodia’s poorest?
They mostly include subsistence farmers, members of fishing communities, people with no land, rural youth, as well as mine victims.
Many women do not have equal access to education, paid labor, or property-owning rights, according to the Rural Poverty Portal.
What is causing the poverty?
There is more than one reason. Some are historical and others are connected to more modern circumstances. Historically, Cambodia is still recovering from the Pol Pot Khmer Rouge Communist Regime, which cost Cambodia an estimated 2 million lives and reigned until the late 1970s, according to time-travel-turtle.
Presently, Cambodia still struggles with equitable access to education, making it difficult to attain the required skill set needed to find work in its economic sectors. School dropouts are high, as many families cannot afford the expenses related to education, and rural families often require their children to help at home with chores and field work.
Is global economic growth a cure?
A World Bank growth-statistics chart for the world’s gross domestic product (GDP) per capita shows a constant growth of the world’s GDP. According to it, the value of global trade and service articles is constantly growing. World Bank GDP per capita growth-statistics:
The world has become a large marketplace, with every nation being able to participate and trade in it, as long as they possess the adequate infrastructure and foundations to participate.
This means technology to meet agricultural demands, industry plants to meet production requirements, infrastructure to facilitate an adequate shipping logistic of goods, but most of all, educational institutions to pass on the needed knowledge to its people.
Judging from who contributes the most to the global GDP, it seems like the Pareto Principle at work, thus, 80 percent of the world’s GDP comes from roughly 20 percent of the world’s population.
Unfortunately, some burdening factors prevent many nations from fully attaining their global market potential. A statement on Rural Poverty Portal said:
“The pressures of a fast-growing population contribute to poverty. Because of a lack of education and skills training, people have inadequate employment opportunities and low capabilities… Cambodia’s poorest people live in remote villages, far from basic social services and facilities.”
Fortunately, there is hope, according to a Unicef report:
“More children in Cambodia are entering school, and the gender gap is quickly closing as more girls make their way to the classroom.”
While there are still some challenges that negate these positive outlooks, there is an internationally backed effort in place to help Cambodia achieve its positive targets in education, development, and employment.
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