Cambodia Needs Another Decade Before Technology-Driven Economy Is Achieved, Minister Says

Cambodia PM
Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen speaks during a groundbreaking ceremony of the Project for Flood Protection, donated by Japan, in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, March 4, 2019. (Photo: REUTERS/Samrang Pring)

Cambodia's digital economy is gradually growing but it may take another 10 years before the country achieves a technologically advanced setting as there is a need to establish basic foundations to ensure that the country is digitally prepared.

According to the Phnom Penh Post, Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth said during Tuesday's national consultation workshop on Policy and Direction of Cambodia's Digital Economy that the country is moving towards digitization. However, another decade may be needed for digital readiness.

The Minister believes that Cambodia will have to go through five years of setting up the foundation of transforming the digital economy into one that competes globally. The next five years may be focused on taking the necessary steps to achieve an economy that is powered by technological developments.

"The countries that can benefit from the digital economy are those that have access to the digital world and in a timely fashion, adapt themselves to these changes. In this regard, for a developing country like Cambodia, new technologies provide an opportunity to leapfrog, bypassing traditional phases of development," he explained.

To achieve desired results, the government will help programs aimed at driving the country's digital economy. Pornmoniroth noted that the Cambodian government will implement long-term plans for developing a tech-run economy. The main focus is to develop an environment that caters to small and large firms in the country through digitized services.

Pormoniroth is confident that Cambodia has the potential to transform into a digitally advanced region that speaks of dynamic growth through industrial innovations and technological advancements.

Ellen Goldstein, World Bank Cambodia director, said the country will face challenges along the way but the overall outlook for the economy is still positive so far. Goldstein, who also leads the Myanmar and Laos World Bank branches, said Cambodia needs to find new digital economy drivers instead of focusing mainly on past drivers that led to success.

Meanwhile, USAID's Development Innovations (DI) study revealed that women still need to be empowered in Cambodia's digital sector, the Khmer Times reported. The survey found out that among the major barriers in the lack of female tech experts in the country are a shortage of opportunities and inadequate role models for younger women in the industry.

On the other hand, the Cambodian government and tech firms are encouraging women to pursue studies in information technology and computer science. The programs are aimed at advancing the lifestyles of female tech learners so they can help achieve digitization. 

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