Presentation

Political relations

France and Cambodia have a special relationship due to their shared history, Francophonie and France’s role in furthering development in Cambodia following the 1991 Paris agreements. The Cambodian community in France also helps maintain these links. Our relationship is, however, adapting to Cambodia’s increasing integration into its regional environment (it has been a member of ASEAN since 1999) and its development towards the status of Middle-Income Country, which is targeted for 2020.

France also supports Cambodia’s United Nations peacekeeping efforts by training Cambodian peacekeepers, organizing technical courses, mainly in the area of mine clearance, military staff and French-language training. The Oudong school (NPMEC), which was created in 2005 and receives our support, has become a reference centre for peacekeeping in the region.

Visits

  • The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia, Mr Prak Sokhonn, visited France on 28-29 November 2016 and met with his French counterpart.
  • The Cambodian Prime Minister, Mr Hun Sen, travelled to France on 25-26 October 2015, where he met with the President of the Republic and the Foreign Minister.
  • Ms Girardin, Minister of State for Development and Francophonie, visited Cambodia on 18-20 May 2015.

Economic relations

France is more firmly established in Cambodia than any other Western country. Its economic presence is based both on investments from major companies (Vinci, Total, Accor, BRED, etc.) and many SMEs created by French businesspeople.

Bilateral trade is increasing and in 2016 stood at €940 million. France remains Europe’s leading trading partner with Cambodia (market share of 0.6%), but has a trade deficit of €660 million. French exports were €140 million and are based on food products, ahead of pharmaceuticals. Imports totalled €800 million in 2016, almost exclusively from the clothing and textile sectors, followed by food.

Cultural, scientific and technical cooperation

French cooperation is today present in the scientific and academic spheres (the main aims being to improve the quality of teaching, the value of qualifications and the professionalization of courses of study), in the teaching of French (there are about 400,000 French speakers in Cambodia, i.e. 2.7% of the population, and almost 140,000 learners of French), where our work focuses on developing the structure of French-language teaching through bilingual classes, French-speaking courses of study in higher education, teacher training, and diversified educational options, notably symbolized by the Descartes French lycée in Phnom Penh (964 students in 2015-2016, 60% of whom were Cambodian) which is part of the Agency for French Education Abroad (AEFE).

As regards development assistance, the AFD, which has been established in Cambodia since 1993, mainly works in the field of agriculture, on the textiles sector (vocational training, improving working conditions) and tourism (urban infrastructure, vocational training). Furthermore, France provided support in structuring healthcare (upgrading regional health centres and creating health micro-insurance) and developing teaching (including at the University of Health Sciences) and research, in collaboration with the Institut Pasteur. Since 2012, the AFD has stepped up its action, which now averages over €60 million in pledges per year.

We also have close cooperation in the area of heritage, in line with the French School of the Far East, principally by co-chairing the International Coordinating Committee for the Safeguarding and Development of the Historic Site of Angkor and restoring several temples.

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Updated: October 2017

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