Keywords: Cambodia, infrastructure, corruption, economic development, government investment, port development, labour markets, special economic zones, regulation, economic geography
Economic geography in the development of Cambodia: the case of Okhna Mong Port Co. Ltd.
Okhna Mong Port Co. Ltd. is part of Cambodia's Mong Reththy Group and was created in 2002 to develop some 64 hectares of land in the southwest of the country as a private sector port, integrated with special economic zone, resort area and other facilities. As a port, it has a particularly influential role in shaping economic development in the country because it serves as a node linking production areas and markets both inside Cambodia and in the other countries of Southeast Asia and beyond. It is also influential in that it represents a re–emergence of network connections in successful business dealings in the country and a resurgence of the aristocratic or establishment elite in taking control of important commercial and economic activities. Using thick description of the investment project and of the Cambodian business environment, this paper investigates the nature of the company and the impacts that it has had on labour markets and general development. As part of a special economic zone, the port project occupies a geographic area in which differential patterns of regulation exist and, as a result, conditions are opaque and possibly problematic.