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Technology policy required for growth

THE president of the ICT Association of Cambodia, Ken Chanthan, is calling on the Cambodian government to develop a strategy to promote growth in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector.

“We need a strategy and a policy. The government needs to develop a policy to build more incentive and support for this industry including thinking about human resources, tax exemption and investment exemption,” Ken said.

Ken said Cambodia’s Supreme National Economic Council has been studying Cambodia’s competitiveness and has identified the ICT sector as playing a key role in the future.

“The government needs to leverage ICT for growth, governance and employment,” he said. “I think we need to move our country to mobile technology; we need the public private dialogue to transform and we need the participation of the private sector, donors and also ICT professionals,” he said.

One thing Cambodia could certainly benefit from is an IT Park, he said.

“With an IT Park for Cambodia, we can have a one-stop service and can also offer a consulting and advisory service and have a place for entrepreneurs and other activities. Other countries when they want to promote IT growth, they also promote this kind of facility,” he said.

Ken, 31, studied at Norton University and found a job in his second year to build a management information system at ACLEDA Bank. He also served as an IT lecturer at the National University of Management before setting up his Ken Group of companies in 2005, focusing on IT services.  

He was elected vice-chairman of the ICT Association of Cambodia and a year later became acting chairman of the association.

Ken identified five challenges for the development of Cambodia’s ICT sector: Policy and regulation, human resources and capacity to produce professionals, infrastructure which is always improving, content in Khmer language as well as English, and building capacity of IT enterprises.

“We need to help small and medium sized businesses to understand the benefits of IT for their businesses – how we can help them increase productivity and competitiveness.”

Ken is working with partners in Korea and the US to set up a social enterprise called “Fourth Sector Innovation” (FSI) that distinguishes between public, private, and NGOs, and identifies a fourth sector is called social enterprise.  

One of the potential growth areas for Cambodia is global outsourcing of services.

“We do web standardisation for the premier internet company in Korea, the NHN Corporation,” Ken said.

“My role is advocacy, especially with the policy makers, about the competitiveness of the country,” Ken said. ICT-CAM was part of the group that hosted an ICT delegation from Malaysia last Saturday at Nagaworld.

The ICT Association of Cambodia’s website is www.ictcam.org.

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