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Cambodia seeks advice on going digital

Chea Vannak / Khmer Times Share:
A man browses Alibaba’s webpage. KT/Mai Vireak

In a bid to incorporate private sector input into its strategy to help the country transition to a digital economy, the Ministry of Commerce held yesterday a forum on entrepreneurship in the digital age.

Speaking at the Forum on Digital Economy and Entrepreneurship yesterday, Vongsey Vissoth, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Economy and Finance, said a plan to adapt to the fourth industrial revolution is needed to keep up with the rest of the world and to reach middle-income country status.

“We are gathered here to discuss a strategy to digitalise Cambodia’s society and economy,” he told an audience composed mostly of businesspeople.

“It is a hard task ahead of us, but we must find ways to adapt to new trends,” he said.

“Digital technology will help us increase productivity and create jobs.”

Event participants agreed that the major obstacles in becoming a truly digital economy are poor critical internet infrastructure, a largely unskilled workforce and low levels of education.

“There are a lot of challenges for Cambodia because we are still fairly behind other countries. However, this presents good opportunities as well,” Mr Vissoth said, explaining that Cambodia is in a position to leapfrog directly to the latest technology, skipping outdated technologies in which advanced nations have invested huge amounts of money.

“With a clear and well-conceived policy, we can adopt these new technologies successfully,” Mr. Vissoth said.

Giving the opening remarks to the event, the director of the World Bank in Cambodia, Ellen Goldstein, praised the Kingdom for its fast development in the ICT sector.

“Cambodia has made quite remarkable progress in terms of adopting technology. The country has great potential in entrepreneurship and innovation, which are critical for the digital economy,” she said.

Cambodia is still in the drafting stages of a law to regulate the e-commerce sector. When asked recently whether or not the law will gain approval in 2018, Mao Thora, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Commerce, said he was “unsure”.

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