Cambodia 2040: International Relations and Governance

Cambodia has experienced drastic changes since the signing of the Paris Peace Accords in 1991. Twenty-five years later, Cambodia is a lower middle-income country with consistently high GDP growth rates and concomitant improvements in human security as measured by the Human Development Index (HDI). The question that Cambodia confronts today is a seemingly simple one, but which is in fact remarkably complex: Whither Cambodia? From energy to industrialization to agriculture, how are the diverse sectors of Cambodian society and the Cambodian economy likely to develop over the next two decades?

As a relatively small country in a region of growing geopolitical and economic importance, how is the kingdom to respond to an assortment of global trends? From the continued rise of China to the effects of climate change to the transition towards a digitalized global economy, Cambodia is set to develop within a rapidly changing global landscape that offers both new challenges and new opportunities.


Set at the intersection of domestic development and global change, will Cambodia in 2040 be a middle-income state with growing prosperity or will it have stagnated at its current, lower middle-income level, or indeed have dropped back to the status of a low-income state? Will the kingdom have adapted to climate change or will it be a victim of its topography? Will a social welfare system be developed to ensure the dignity and security of all of within the kingdom? Where will public administration, rule of law, and governance stand? Where will Cambodia be within ASEAN and in the broader context of geopolitics?


In order to address these and other important questions - Future Forum has partnered with the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung to produce a series of edited volumes examining a number of different areas of socio-economic development, ranging from fiscal policy to the fourth industrial revolution to healthcare. There are three thematic scopes that the series covers: (i) economic development; (ii) culture and society; and (iii) international relations and governance. 


This is the first series of books that brings together a collection of experts, utilizing a single methodological framework, in order to set out the potential scenarios that Cambodia is likely to confront two decades from now. Broadly employing a shared foresighting approach each author examines their particular area of expertise in order to illustrate the potential paths that Cambodia could follow. Additionally, as befits a book about the future of Cambodia, each of the substantive chapters has been developed and written by a Cambodian analyst or through collaboration between Cambodian scholars and foreign partners.


Enjoy your reading!


Robert Hör

Robert Hoer





Deth Sok Udom, Bradley J. Murg, Ou Virak & Michael Renfrew


Phnom Penh