Cambodia Investment Review
The Cambodian Oknha Association (COA) held its 2023 Business Forum organized in cooperation with the Council for Development of Cambodia (CDC). It was a gathering not only to discuss business but to underscore a noble commitment to the values of Oknha—honor, moral dignity, and an unswerving dedication to the economic growth of Cambodia.
The forum convened over 400 business leaders from across Cambodia, representatives from foreign embassies, international business associations, and top government officials. The title “Oknha”—meaning nobleman or lord—is not only an honor granted by royal decree but represents a community of individuals who have invested $500,000 or more in Cambodia’s government and society.
Registered with the Ministry of Interior in 2022, the COA is led by a 32-member Board of Directors, with Neak Oknha Ly Yong Phat as the President for a five-year term, while the day-to-day operation is carried out by the General Secretariat headed by Oknha Hun Lak.
Promote The Values of Oknha
Neak Oknha Sear Rithy opened the forum, describing it as “the first step towards achieving this mission.” He emphasized the essential values of Oknha and the collective role played by COA, government agencies, and business leaders. “We must promote the values of Oknha to ensure honor and moral dignity and participate actively in the development of the Cambodian economy as partners of the Royal Government of Cambodia,” he declared.
With panel discussions, keynote addresses, and networking sessions, the forum delved deep into sectors vital to the Cambodian economy, including tourism and hospitality, manufacturing, agri-business, logistics, construction, and real estate.
A keynote address by His Excellency Sok Chenda Sophea highlighted the government’s recent initiatives in attracting investment, including the approval of the Investment Law in 2021. “CDC promotes the law and cooperates with the private sector to attract investment into Cambodia. We need a collective effort to attract investments locally and from abroad,” he said.
COA President Neak Oknha Ly Yong Phat further explained COA’s mission to enhance trade and investment, reflecting on the confidence in expanding businesses and investments in Cambodia due to robust support from government bodies like CDC.
Collective Ambition and Commitment
The importance of collaboration among stakeholders was a recurring theme throughout the day. The Forum became a fertile ground for ideas and collaboration, inspiring actionable strategies, not just for economic development but to sustain and honor the cultural values represented by Oknha.
Highlighting the diverse investment landscape, the discussions acknowledged Cambodia’s steady economic growth, with Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) reaching $45.8 billion as of March 31, a promising 9% annual growth. The diversity of investments across sectors, including finance, manufacturing, real estate, and agriculture, reflects a nation ready to move forward.
In his concluding remarks, Neak Oknha Sear Rithy reiterated the importance of collective ambition and commitment, expressing gratitude towards all involved partners and emphasizing Cambodia’s bright future. “The COA will play a vital role in helping to realize this future,” he said.
The COA 2023 Business Forum stands as a testament to the power of unity and shared values. As Cambodia strides towards becoming a high-income country by 2050, the event is a reminder that the nation’s future is shaped not just by economic strategies but also by the moral and cultural principles embedded in the title of Oknha.