November 28, 2011

Capital shortage thwarts development pace in CLMV: Cambodia PM


PHNOM PENH, Nov. 28 -- Capital shortage is the key challenge for Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV) to develop and narrow development gap with the six old ASEAN member states, Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen said Monday.

"Despite the CLMV countries' tireless efforts and desires to accelerate the development, the key challenge of our cooperation is the lack of financing," he said at the opening of the Regional Conference on CLMV countries and the ASEAN Economic Community 2015-bridging the Development Divide.

"Therefore, foreign direct investment, the integration of markets, trades, and investments as well as official development aid play very important roles in the initiative of our cooperation, " he said.

The CLMV countries need to reform on public financial management, trade, legal system, investment regime and public administration in order to sustain growth, economic integration and human resources development, he said, adding that good governance is also an essence to create good investment environment.

The premier said the CLMV countries are situated in the central point of Southeast Asia, playing crucial roles for political geography and economy and prosperity of the Southeast Asian region.

"The CLMV countries have huge potential for the opportunities of markets and economies because the countries are rich in natural resources and have the total population of an estimated 160 million," he said.

The reduction of development gap between the ASEAN old members and new ones need a lot of resources, he said, adding that it is necessary to mobilize domestic resources and to attract private sector participation. Also, there should be a joint effort to open markets for products which are produced in the CLMV.

Meanwhile, K. Kesavapany, director of Singapore's Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, said the CLMV countries have seen robust economic growth, well-performed poverty reduction and human capital development over the past decade; however, the development gap between the ASEAN six members and the CLMV countries remain noticeable.

Bridging the development divide is one of the most pressing challenges facing the success of the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community in 2015, he said.

The conference was participated by economists, academics and policymakers from the CLMV countries. It was organized by the Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, the Asian Development Bank and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS).

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

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