March 13, 2012
On March 13 in a ceremony held in the office of the prime minister in the capital of Phnom Penh, Prime Minister Hun Sen announced that the results of the economic census (a national census of businesses), a historical first for the Kingdom of Cambodia, had been finalized with assistance from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). In addition to government officials, including cabinet members and provincial governors, about 600 people attended the ceremony, including ambassadors from major countries.
At the request from the Royal Government of Cambodia in August, 2005, JICA began the Project on Improving Official Statistics in Cambodia under public-private cooperative organization to assist in implementing an accurate census and preparing highly reliable statistics. With technical guidance provided by public and private specialists and through training in Cambodia, Japan and Indonesia, improvements were made in the expertise and technical knowledge at the Cambodian Ministry of Planning and related government ministries, as well as among statistics personnel in rural districts. The products of that project were the preparation of a population census in 2008, and preparation for this economic census.
A JICA specialist provides technical guidance for census implementation
A JICA specialist provides technical guidance in census calculations
In Cambodia's 2011 economic census, counterpart funds from the government of Japan were used to mobilize some 4000 census takers to survey all businesses in Cambodia without omission. Assistance was also provided to establish various training programs conducted by the central government ministries and agencies for provincial instructors and census takers for this project. Through these efforts, the status of businesses throughout Cambodia is now known for the first time and highly reliable statistics have been prepared.
The Cambodian Minister of Planning observes the 2011 economic census in Phnom Penh
Taking the 2011 economic census in Battambang Province
The results showed that of the 505,134 businesses throughout Cambodia, there were 222,126 with only one employee and 176,219 with two employees, making it clear that nearly 80 percent of businesses were micro enterprises with no more than two employees. On the other hand, the number of large-scale businesses with 100 or more employees was 787. The number of businesses headed by women was 329,006 or nearly two-thirds of all businesses, showing a striking number of women in business. The number of businesses established between January 1, 2009, and March 1, 2011, was 182,439, exceeding one-third of the total, showing that there has been marked economic growth in Cambodia recently. Also, of the 1,676,263 employees, 1,026,084 were women, far outnumbering the 650,179 men.
A JICA specialist makes an announcement at a statistics seminar
The final results of the economic census will be used by the central and local governments in formulating various government policies and project, and they are also expected to be used widely in academic research at universities and laboratories, as well as for administrative strategizing and market research in the private sector.