Phnom Penh, February 20, 2014 — Cambodia has exceeded the Millennium Development Goal poverty target and is one of the best performers in poverty reduction worldwide, according to a new World Bank Poverty Assessment Report. The poverty rate more than halved, from 53% (2004) to 20.5% (2011). Today, approximately two out of 10 Cambodians are poor, compared with five out of 10 in 2004.
According to the report, increased rice prices and increased rice production greatly contributed to poverty reduction, along with greater road access for farmers to markets, better access to market information through mobile phones, improved irrigation, and a liberal undistorted agricultural market.
"This is good news for Cambodia. The pace of poverty reduction surpassed expectations. When a similar poverty assessment was undertaken in 2006, the aspirational goal was for Cambodia to halve poverty by 2015. Cambodia already reached that goal in 2011,” said Alassane Sow, the World Bank’s Country Manager for Cambodia.
Source: "Where Have All the Poor Gone? Cambodia Poverty Assessment 2013," World Bank.
However, the report finds that Cambodia’s “near-poor”, those who live on less than $2.30 per day per person, may have escaped poverty but remain vulnerable to (even the slightest) economic shocks.
“Despite impressive reduction in poverty, these hard won gains are fragile. Many people who have escaped poverty are still at high risk of falling back into poverty,” said Neak Samsen, Poverty Analyst of the World Bank in Cambodia and the co-author of the Poverty Assessment Report. “For example, the loss of just 1,200 riel (about $0.30) per day in income would throw an estimated three million Cambodians back into poverty, doubling the poverty rate to 40%.”
Source: World Bank staff calculations using CSES data.