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8 August 2018
Author: Hannah Elten, German Development Institute
In January 2018, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visited Cambodia and oversaw the signing of 19 new development deals. The deals were announced just a few weeks after Chinese firms pledged to invest an additional US$7 billion in Cambodia, including for a highway construction project that will connect the capital city of Phnom Penh with the country’s main port city, Sihanoukville.
The cityscapes of Cambodia’s urban centres, most notably Phnom Penh, Battambang and Sihanoukville, are beginning to show tangible signs of Chinese foreign investment. In Phnom Penh, 3488 high-end residential units such as luxury apartments and condominiums were added to the housing market in 2017. The construction of another 15,688 luxury units is forecast to be complete in 2018.
Traditionally a low-rise city, Phnom Penh has seen a number of high-rise buildings appear across its landscape since 2014 — the first year in which the construction and real estate sector became one of Cambodia’s ‘four economic pillars’.
Since then, the industry has grown at a rapid pace. The Cambodian government approved 2636 construction projects in 2016, the majority of which are located in the capital. The total value of these projects reached US$8.5 billion — more than double the value of construction projects approved in the previous year. Chinese companies account for about a third of the capital investment flowing into Cambodia’s construction and real estate sector and fuelling this expansion.
Phnom Penh faces significant — and growing — challenges regarding the provision of basic services such as drainage, public transport, waste management and wastewater treatment. Most of Cambodia’s urbanisation and land management laws or policies only date back to 2001 and have largely not been implemented.
One of the most pressing causes for concern is the lack of affordable housing in Phnom Penh, which is forcing many mid- to low-income Cambodians to move to the outskirts of the city. It is projected that Phnom Penh’s population will increase by more than 50 per cent by 2030, up to 7.9 million. According to conservative government estimates, this will create demand for an additional 800,000 homes within the next 13 years.
The Cambodian government recognises the emerging housing crisis in its capital. In 2014 it responded by releasing the National Housing Policy, which states that all city dwellers have the right to adequate housing. But the implementation of this policy has been ineffective, leaving many of Cambodia’s urban poor in vulnerable conditions...
http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2018/08/08 ... ng-crisis/
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