Rising inequalities

Panel discussion on problem on inequalities in Cambodia. Photo: Oxfam

What measures can the government of Cambodia take to ensure that the most vulnerable Cambodians don’t relapse into poverty? That question and other similar ones were examined during a panel discussion on Cambodia’s governance and accountability at the Forum of Exchanges event held on November 26th in Phnom Penh.

For the last two decades Cambodia experienced an exceptional GDP growth. According to the World Bank, the high growth rate did not benefit all Cambodians equally, and today 4.5 million people still remain quite poor and could easily fall back into poverty if an economic shock occurs. This is particularly true of informal workers who are not covered by national health and social security insurance.

Forum of Exchanges raises issues

The panel focused on the problem of rising inequalities in Cambodia despite stable high rates of economic growth and stressed the need for the Cambodian government to establish stronger and more comprehensive safety nets to protect workers, particularly in the informal sector. Ms Solinn Lim, Oxfam country director, facilitated the panel discussion. Four development and good governance professionals in Cambodia were invited to share their expertise on the topic.

The panelists also discussed how governmental systems that manage public finances and provide social services, such as health insurance and education, have considerably improved over recent years in Cambodia but still lack some significant elements to perform optimally. Speakers identified corruption, low accountability and the lack of civil servant skills as some of the main causes for the unsatisfactory and limited delivery of social services to workers and citizens.

The event was funded by the Belgian Directorate General for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid and was part of the visit and dialogue schedule of Belgian Ambassador, H.E. Philippe Kridelka, with the members of Cambodia’s Joint Strategic Framework (JFS).

What measures can the government of Cambodia take to ensure that the most vulnerable Cambodians don’t relapse into poverty? That question and other similar ones were examined during a panel discussion on Cambodia’s governance and accountability at the Forum of Exchanges event held on November 26th in Phnom Penh.