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Keeping it riel: Shaking Cambodia's dollar dependency

Amid shift toward local currency, some ask if the transition is worth the trouble

Cambodian riel: Common denominations of the riel come in 100, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000 and 20,000 notes.

PHNOM PENH -- Cambodia is a country split between two currencies: the riel, with notes bearing representations of kings past and present, historical landmarks and other figures, and the U.S. dollar, in its ubiquitous green glory. That may be about to change.

The dollar has been in common use in Cambodia since United Nations peacekeeping forces arrived in the early 1990s with a mission to instill democracy. Now, roughly 84% of economic transactions are conducted in dollars, according to an estimate by the National Bank of Cambodia, the central bank.

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