(Leaders from member countries at the last ASEM summit held in 2018 in Brussels. Facebook page)
Cambodia is hosting the 13th Asia-Europe summit in 2020, an inter-governmental meeting which will be held in Phnom Penh where leaders from Asia and Europe meet to discuss how countries from the two continents can improve ties in political, security, economic and cultural cooperation.
Established in 1996, the Asia-Europe Meeting, widely known as ASEM, is composed of 51 member countries and two partner institutions, namely, the European Union and the ASEAN Secretariat.
The ASEM Summit is held every two years and is a forum focusing on how the member countries can boost their cooperation based on its three pillars: political, economic & financial, and social, cultural & educational.
Cambodia was chosen to be the host of the 13th ASEM summit during the last summit in 2018 held in Brussels, Belgium.
Speaking at the celebration of ASEM Day in Phnom Penh in March, the Foreign Affairs Minister Prak Sokhonn said being the host will greatly benefit Cambodia as it allows the country to show the world’s top leaders its remarkable achievements. The opportunity will also boost bilateral cooperation with member countries, according to a report by Khmer Times.
Dr. Sok Siphana, a managing partner at SokSiphana & associates, is also positive that this continental-level meeting will open new opportunities for Cambodia.
“After all, ASEM provides Cambodia an excellent venue to promote Cambodia’s image in the international arena,” he wrote in a book published by a German political Think Tank, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung Cambodia.
However, since one of the main topics to be discussed during this upcoming important dialogue is the economic aspect, would this meeting bring more investment from Europe to Cambodia, specifically for its real estate sector?
Cambodia’s property sector is booming, but it is predominantly occupied by investors from Asia, such as China, Japan and South Korea. According to data from CBRE Cambodia, there was approximately $6 billion invested in Cambodia’s real estate sector in 2018 and a projected nearly $7 billion total investment in 2019 - only 5% of which came from Europe.
Dan Davies, asset services director at CBRE Cambodia, said the meeting will give Cambodia a chance to show other members of the country’s fast-growing construction and property sector. Cambodia is in a stage of catching up with some more developed countries in the region such as Malaysia and Singapore, he added.
“I think the meeting will benefit Cambodia by raising awareness of the current investment coming in and the amount of progress in construction and real estate sector in the past five years,” he said.
“There are 320 live projects in Phnom Penh alone which is more than any other city in ASEAN right now. This doesn’t take into account of other areas such as Sihanoukville and Siem Reap which are also undergoing major development,” he added.
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