May 25, 2011

Cambodia's central market relaunches after makeover


Cambodia's iconic Central Market, or Psah Thmay, in Phnom Penh is being reinaugurated on Wednesday after seven years of renovations.

This is the first time the market has been renovated since it was built in 1937, when the country was under French colonial rule.

The French Development Agency's Eric Beugnot Radio Australia's Connect Asia program the building is seen as an important economic hub for the people of Phnom Penh.

"There are more than 3,000 merchants in this market. It is a central place and it is important to recreate as some economic environment to stimulate the economy in the centre of this town, this capital," he said.

"And then have some side effects with tourism, as tourism is one of the four pillars of economic development of Cambodia."

The Central Market sells a vast array of products - from fruit and vegetables to meat and rice, clothes, pirated DVDs, books, stationery, electronics, and tourist trinkets.

Mr Beugnot says the market was renovated in stages.

He says a key challenge for the $US6 million project was to convince the stallholders that they would get their stall space back once work was finished.

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