The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation highlighted diplomatic efforts to attract foreign investors to Cambodia within the first five months of 2024, through the "economic diplomacy" policy, including the promotion of Kingdom’s tourism sector.

Foreign ministry spokesman Chum Sounry told The Post that in the first five months of the year, the ministry, embassies and representative offices overseas has been actively involved in promoting Cambodia's economic, tourism and cultural interests on the international stage.

According to Sounry, among these activities were participation in the 2024 ASEAN-India Bazaar in Indonesia and the celebration of Cambodia’s 24th National Cultural Day in South Korea, which provided a unique opportunity for Cambodia to showcase its rich cultural heritage and diverse products.

In neigbouring Thailand, Cambodian officials hosted an economic diplomacy forum entitled "Cambodia's New Page: Business and Investment Opportunities". In addition, there have been meetings with many businessmen in Brunei and France who have contributed to boosting investment relations and Cambodian trade with partner countries.

Sounry said that in April, Cambodian embassies around the world actively participated in promoting trade, with initiatives ranging from opening Khmer restaurants in Laos to promoting the Khmer martial art Kun Khmer in Russia, exploring solar energy investment opportunities in Turkiye and boosting bilateral trade with Brazil.

Economic diplomacy has spread to many countries to promote economic growth and cultural ties, such as through food fairs in Kuwait showcasing Cambodian products and heritage. In the UK, steps are being taken to establish a Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) representative office.

In addition, there have been discussions and expressions of interest from Indonesian entrepreneurs regarding the export of traditional medicine and children's products, demonstrating Cambodia’s commitment to further diversifying economic partnerships, said Sounry.

In Japan, the 8th Cambodia Festival was held to strengthen traditional diplomatic ties, expand understanding and attract Japanese investment.

For China, one of the country’s largest trading partners, Cambodian diplomats presented a plan to establish a Cambodian-Chinese association, emphasising the importance of economic cooperation and cultural exchange, according to Sounry.

"These activities underscore Cambodia's commitment to promoting international relations and demonstrate cultural diversity and economic opportunities on the international stage,” he said.

In the first half of this year, the country saw significant momentum in direct investment flow, Prime Minister Hun Manet said on July 8. He referred to figures from the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), which reported that a total of 190 investment projects worth $3.2 billion had been approved. This amount nearly tripled from the same period in 2023 ($1.1 billion).

He stated that the government adheres to a business support approach, providing assistance to the private sector at all stages of their operations in Cambodia.

However, Yang Peou, secretary-general of the Royal Academy of Cambodia, emphasised that economic diplomacy should be intensified, although he acknowledged that officials overseas have done a good job.

He said that Cambodian embassies around the world should strive more to promote Cambodian cultural products through programmes, such as exhibitions, and arrange various meetings to create opportunities.

"I think we need to make further efforts and roll up our sleeves to attract more investment, especially in the tourism sector," he said.