Since the end of many years of war and internal conflict, Cambodia has moved from being one of the world’s poorest countries to becoming a lower middle-income country in 2016, after an average GDP growth rate of more than 7% per year over the last two decades. It is recognised as a leader in reducing poverty, but this remains a challenge especially in rural areas, where 77% of the population live. Agriculture made up 24% of GDP in 2017 and employed 27% of the labour force.
Cambodia has a fairly developed legal framework for land tenure. The Constitution sets out that all Cambodians have the right to land ownership, provided it does not negatively affect public interests. The law recognizes five types of land: private land; state public land; state private land; common property; and indigenous land. The majority of land – around 75% – is State land.
Inequality in landholding is a key problem and is among the highest in Southeast Asia. This, along with lack of transparency in land transactions, has led to land disputes. Women and men in Cambodia have equal legal rights to land and women often own land. However, women face barriers and discrimination, especially female-headed households.