Cambodia to join World Economic Forum digital growth project

The World Economic Forum has requested Cambodia’s participation in an Asean-wide programme to promote digital development and electronic payments.

During a meeting Tuesday with Pan Sorasak, the Minister of Commerce, Justin Wood, WEF’s director for Asia-Pacific and executive committee member, said the Kingdom’s collaboration is needed to successfully implement the programme.

“The Digital Asean and E-payment programme, initiated by the World Economic Forum, needs Cambodia’s participation as it can provide important input,” he was quoted as saying in a ministry statement published yesterday.

During the meeting, Minister Sorasak stressed the important role technology plays in facilitating trade and business in Industry 4.0.

“The ministry supports this project,” Mr Sorasak said, according to the press release. “The Cambodian government is working to facilitate the transformation of the country into a digital economy, in line with Industry 4.0, to increase accountability and transparency in public services and create sustainable economic growth.”

At a workshop on the digital economy in March, Aun Pornmoniroth, the Minister of Economy and Finance, said the country’s digital capabilities are still at a nascent stage. “Cambodia may need to spend the next five years building the pillars of a digital economy, and will probably spend another five to ten years growing that digital economy and aiming for a technology-driven market,” he said.

“Our vision is to create a robust digital environment that allows both small and large firms in the country to connect to global value chains,” he added.

Moreover, in March the government announced that it will create a $5-million annual fund to strengthen the tech startup scene in the country.

“An entrepreneurship fund will be established with $5 million dollars a year to support startups in terms of financing, technical expertise, marketing, production, and training,” Prime Minister Hun Sen said.

Last month, the Techo Startup Centre was launched to support young entrepreneurs and aid government plans to transform Cambodia into a digital economy.

The centre, located inside the Royal University of Phnom Penh, one of the country’s leading higher education institutions, focuses on skills students need to succeed as tech entrepreneurs in the digital age.