An upcoming key meeting between prominent members of the Cambodian and Maldivian business communities is expected to expand trade and tourism opportunities between the two countries.
The Cambodia-Maldives Business Forum is scheduled for January 16, the second day of Prime Minister Hun Sen’s three-day official visit to the archipelago nation, which will be accompanied by senior members of the Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC), the Kingdom’s apex trade body.
In a statement issued on January 15, the CCC confirmed that its delegation to the Maldives will be led by its president, Kith Meng, and that the forum will be organized in collaboration with the Maldivian Ministry of Economic Development.
The forum, which will be chaired by Maldivian Economic Minister Fayyaz Ismail and attended by senior Cambodian and Maldivian officials, aims to explore business and investment opportunities as well as sectors with the greatest expected potential, according to a statement.
It added that the CCC is due to ink a memorandum of understanding with the Maldives National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MNCCI) “to promote and enhance industrial, business and economic cooperation between the” two countries.
The CCC’s director-general, Nguon Meng Tech, who is not on the trip, sees the business forum as an important step toward improving bilateral cooperation in all areas, particularly tourism.
Meng Tech suggested to The Post on January 15 that the two countries leverage their tourism strengths and collaborate to market their offerings and bring in travelers, highlighting history and culture as potential areas of focus for the Kingdom.
“Through this partnership, we can also convince visitors to the Maldives to continue on to the temples and natural world of Cambodia,” he said.
He noted that the Maldives’ status as a major international tourism destination provides an opportunity for Cambodian agricultural producers to tap into potential market demand for milled rice, fruits, vegetables, and other food items, among other things.
On September 20, the two countries reaffirmed their commitment to explore new avenues of cooperation, such as direct commercial flights and investment in export-oriented rice mills in the Kingdom.
This came during a bilateral meeting between Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn and his Maldivian counterpart Abdulla Shahid on the sidelines of the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City.
Following a meeting in April between Minister Thong Khon and Mohamed Jinah, the Maldivian Ambassador to Cambodia with Residence in Bangkok, the Ministry of Tourism made a similar announcement that direct commercial flights are in the works.
“We encourage reciprocal flights. Although the Maldives is a small country, it boasts numerous islands, so at a later date we could go learn from and experience the development of the country’s islands, and then develop islands in Cambodia,” the ministry quoted Khon as saying.
The Maldives, located in the Indian Ocean, straddles the equator and covers an area of approximately 90,000 square kilometers, only 298 square kilometers of which is dry land.
The majority of the Maldives’ 1,192 islands are part of a double chain of 26 atolls organized into 21 administrative areas. According to Worldometer’s analysis of the most recent UN data, the country’s current population is slightly more than 565,700 as of January 15.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) projects the country’s GDP to be $5.502 billion in 2022, with a per-capita GDP of $14,078.
According to Michigan State University, the Maldivian economy is heavily reliant on services, which account for 70.76 percent of GDP (tourism alone accounts for 28 percent), with secondary sectors agriculture, industry, and manufacturing accounting for 8%, 11.83 percent, and 2.49 percent, respectively.
Source : phnompenhpost