The Belt and Road Initiative in Cambodia: Costs and Benefits, Real and Perceived


About the Seminar

China is Cambodia’s largest bilateral donor, lender, investor, and trading partner. Economic relations have been strengthened by Cambodia’s active participation in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). The hybrid seminar will examine the costs and benefits in Cambodia, both real and perceived, of participating in the BRI. A number of key questions relating to the current and future prospects of the BRI will be considered, including the following. How can Cambodia increase gains while mitigating the negative impacts of the BRI? How is China trying to improve the environmental, social and financial sustainability of BRI investments, following international criticisms, and is it working? Is the AIIB the right institution to help multilateralize the BRI? Is the BRI helping in achieving Cambodia’s aim of diversifying its economic structure? Are concerns over debt diplomacy or Dutch Disease warranted?

This hybrid seminar is jointly organised by ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute and Cambodia Development Research Institute.

About the Moderator

Eng Netra has a long and distinguished career in development policy research specialising in governance and inclusive society, along with research management and policy influencing. Her current appointment as Executive Director of CDRI caps a history of managerial and leadership positions over a 15-year research career at the institute. She has overseen many research studies that have produced original, high quality and locally owned research on Cambodia’s political and institutional transformation over the past twenty years. Dr Eng is also active in a range of international and regional networks of governance and development scholars, and has published in international peer-reviewed journals and books. Dr Eng received her PhD in political science from Monash University in 2015 with her dissertation on “The Political Economy of Decentralization Reform in Cambodia”.

About the Speaker

Jayant Menon joined the ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute as Senior Fellow to continue his work on trade and development in the Asian region, following his early retirement from the ADB in 2020. His last post at the ADB was Lead Economist in the Office of the Chief Economist. He began work life as an academic in Australia, spending almost a decade at the Centre of Policy Studies at Monash University, one of the leading centres for computable general equilibrium modelling. He has also worked at the University of Melbourne, Victoria University, the American University in Washington, DC and the ADB Institute in Tokyo. He has served as a Board Director of CDRI, Cambodia, and on the Advisory Board of the University of Nottingham, Malaysia. He holds adjunct appointments with the Australian National University, University of Nottingham, UK and IDEAS, Malaysia.

About the Discussants

Hal Hill is the H.W. Arndt Professor Emeritus of the Southeast Asian Economies at the Crawford School, College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University (ANU). His main research interest is Southeast Asian economic development. He serves on various boards and committees, including the Honorary Board (Dewan Kehormatan) of the Bank Indonesia Institute, the Council of the East Asian Economic Association (of which he is President in 2020-21), and boards at the ANU, Macquarie University, and Monash University. He is the author/editor of 20 books and about 170 journal articles and book chapters. He has a PhD in Economics from the ANU.

Phim Runsinarith is currently the research director at the National University of Management in Cambodia. He is a development professional with 18 years of experience in conducting policy research related to economic and development issues sponsored by the World Bank, the ADB and other UN agencies. Previously, he was an Assistant Professor at Kobe University in Japan, Economist at United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Cambodia and Researcher at Cambodia Development Resource Institute (CDRI). Dr Phim received his PhD in International Development from Nagoya University, and both Master and Bachelor degrees in Economics from Osaka University, Japan.


Attending the Event In-person at CDRI

This is a hybrid event which will be held at Cambodia Development Resource Institute (CDRI), 56 St 315, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Seating capacity is limited.

Attending the Event Virtually via Webinar

To join the event virtually at the specified date and time using your internet devices, please register here to receive your unique login link for the webinar via the zoom platform.

If you have questions for the speakers, please key in your questions via the Q&A, stating your name and affiliation. The moderator will field them to the speakers during the Q&A session.


Oct 03 2022


10:00 am - 11:30 am


Library at CDRI (56 St 315, Phnom Penh, Cambodia) / Webinar