Skyrocketing micro-finance debt in Cambodia has left millions of people at risk of losing their homes, leading to fears of a potential political and economic crisis.
With a median of $3,370 per loan, Cambodia now has the highest average for small loans in the world, according to a report from the Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights and Samakum Teang Tnaut on Wednesday. Altogether, nearly 15% of the population held at least $8 billion in micro loan debt at the start of the year, the data show.
“It is a big issue and it’s one that could have political ramifications,” said Ou Virak, director of Phnom Penh-based think-tank Future Forum. “Since there is no personal bankruptcy protection, delinquency could and will likely lead to the repossession of homes or family farms.”
The question is, Virak said, “would the government stand with the banks or the people