A German political think tank has published a book predicting the nature of Cambodia in 2040.
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Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Cambodia, together with Future Forum yesterday launched Cambodia 2040: Economic Development.
188-page book with nine chapters focuses on a number of different areas of socio-economic development, ranging from fiscal policy to the fourth industrial revolution to healthcare. There are three thematic scopes that the series covers. The first is economic development, the second is culture and society and the third is foreign policy and governance.
Among its findings it predicts that from being largely reliant on agriculture, in 2040 the Cambodian economy will have developed into one that is industry-based; from being labour intensive and narrow, its economy will be skills-based and diversified.
In addition, the population will enjoy higher standards of living and better conditions in smart and green cities, with access to quality healthcare and education systems, inclusive social security, and efficient public services.
Strong political will and bold reform efforts will have been key in effectively addressing structural weaknesses to improve the investment climate, reduce business costs, enhance trade facilitation and address skills shortages. This has provided a conducive environment for Cambodia to strengthen its competitiveness and attract more quality foreign direct investment for economic diversification, with a focus on higher value-added goods and services.
“We expect that this series will be of considerable interest across a range of constituencies, from government ministries to NGOs (nongovernmental organisations) to bilateral and multilateral aid agencies and could ultimately help to facilitate greater cooperation among these diverse elements while contributing to resolving the perpetual challenges of aid fragmentation and the absence of coordination among the various stakeholders in Cambodia’s development,” said Ou Virak, founder and president of Future Forum, who commissioned the book.
He said it will allow the public to learn about Cambodian history and discuss the present and find solutions for the current issues for the future.
He said Cambodia 2040 portrays the dialogue among stakeholders on current issues. “I can say that the conflict and the prosperity of the past history is our lesson, but regarding policy, we should think about the future and find solutions for future problems,” Ou added.
“We asked the authors to think about the future on the realistic things that Cambodia needs, the people need and what is likely to happen in the future. We looked at two scenarios, which focus on what we want and whether they could possibly happen,” he added.
Ou said relevant stakeholders were also asked to foresee what good things could possibly happen.
Frank Steffel, a German member of parliament, said that if Cambodia wanted to create a successful economy, it is necessary to have freedom for the people, universities, NGOs, small and medium-sized enterprises and startup companies.
“To build and help the nation to economic success, democracy and peace are crucial,” said Steffel. “I recommend Asean tries to stay stronger together as much as it can do,” Mr Steffel added.