In an hour-long address to ministers at his first cabinet meeting on Thursday, Prime Minister Hun Mane said he wanted to transform Cambodia into an upper-middle-income country by 2030 and a high-income country by 2050.
Hun Mane, the eldest son of longtime leader Hun Sen, took over as prime minister earlier this week after the newly sworn-in National Assembly formally approved it.
“At the heart of the strategy is a focus on governance, modernizing state institutions and becoming a modern public administration,” the 45-year-old leader told a meeting broadcast by state broadcaster TVK.
Hun Manai read out a 22-page strategic memorandum, which he said would serve as a roadmap to increase employment, reduce poverty and promote good governance while maintaining peace and political stability.
The government aims to make Cambodia an upper-middle-income country by 2030 and a high-income country by 2050, he said.
According to the World Bank, gross national income per capita in upper-middle-income countries ranges from $4,256 to $13,205, according to Hong Manai. worked as an intern decades ago.
GNI per capita in high-income countries exceeds US$13,205.
In 2022, Cambodia’s per capita income will be US$1,700, World Bank Data exhibit.
‘Can’t just eliminate nepotism’
But Um Saan, a senior official with the banned Cambodia National Rescue Party, said the strategy would be hampered by entrenched corruption and nepotism in Cambodia. He said Hun Manai must first look after the interests of his family and other allies.
“It’s a cancer of society. He can’t just eliminate nepotism and reform,” he said.
Legal expert Vorn Chan Lout told Radio Free Asia that the most effective way to implement the new strategy is to reopen the political space, respect human rights and be more accepting of the role local and international NGOs play in society.
There should also be a policy not to prosecute opposition figures, he said.
“The core element is to restore the rule of law,” he said.
Activists and leaders of the country’s main opposition Candlelight Party faced threats, harassment and arrests last year as the ruling Cambodian People’s Party prepared for national elections on July 23.
The CPP won 120 of the 125 seats in the National Assembly. Candlelight was banned from running because of what the government’s National Election Commission said was insufficient documentation.
The National Electoral Commission’s decision was widely condemned as politically motivated.
Translated by Yun Sameyan. Edited by Matt Reid and Malcolm Foster.