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, Bloomberg News reported. 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.
Cambodia faces a serious blow to its economy as the European Union investigates the government’s deteriorating human rights record and considers revoking a special trading deal with the country, the International New York Times reported. For 17 years, Cambodia has benefited from preferential access to the European Union a major trading partner, under a program called Everything but Arms, which allows what the bloc calls “vulnerable developing countries” to pay fewer or no duties on all their exports to the bloc, except weapons and ammunition.