Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Digital economy needs 10 years

Digital economy needs 10 years

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth (centre) at the Policy and Direction of Cambodia’s Digital Economy workshop. GENERAL DEPARTMENT OF TAXATION

Digital economy needs 10 years

Cambodia's digital economy remains at a nascent stage and will need at least 10 years to grow and aim for a technology-driven economy, said Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth.

Speaking at the national consultation workshop on Policy and Direction of Cambodia’s Digital Economy on Tuesday, Pornmoniroth said the Kingdom’s digital economy has been gradually taking shape and creating new business activities in digital payment, online entertainment and e-commerce while increasing the number of users who adapt themselves to such technologies.

He said Cambodia may need to spend the first five years to set all of the fundamental elements in place and achieve digital readiness. It will then spend another five or 10 years growing its digital economy to a technology-driven economy.

“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 said.

Pornmoniroth said the government will develop and implement a long-term strategic framework, serving as an overall guide to developing a digital economy. Cambodia, he said, has no intention to create a Silicon Valley or aim to create unicorn companies – start-ups valued at more than $1 billion.

The strategic direction is to create a robust digital environment that allows both small and large firms in the Kingdom to connect to the global digital economy value chain.

Though Cambodia is a developing country, Pornmoniroth said it is a dynamic country with a high potential to seize the opportunities arising from Industrial Revolution 4.0 and base its digital economy on four main factors.

These are a demographic dividend with an increasing number of educated youth who are fast absorbing digital technology, a rapid increase in the use of cell phones and smart devices, fast technological spillovers from foreign direct investment inflow, and a fast digitalisation of all key economic sectors.

The World Bank country director for Cambodia, Myanmar and Laos, Ellen Goldstein, said during the Tuesday workshop that while Cambodia can maintain rapid and sustainable growth, the Kingdom faces challenges such as rising wages.

This, she said, makes it increasingly difficult to continue exporting low-value goods like unprocessed rice and low-end garments. In addition, she said Cambodia is receiving less generous donor financing and its preferential trade treatment is expected to phase out eventually.

“Cambodia will need to find new drivers of growth, as the country will not be able to rely exclusively on those drivers which have proven successful in the past,” she said.

She said the Kingdom’s economic outlook remains positive and would benefit from exploring new drivers of growth that will create jobs and boost prosperity over the next 20 years.

“Digital platforms are expected to play a key role in enabling local entrepreneurs to participate in global value chains more effectively. Financial technology can provide expanded access to finance for both enterprises and individuals as well as facilitate the growth of e-commerce.”

Canadia Bank Plc executive vice-president Charles Vann on Tuesday said the time is right for Cambodia to start preparing its strategy and policy to digitalise the economy, as it is the global and regional trend, and the neighbouring countries are also adjusting to it.

“Once our economy is growing and going along, having prepared now [the policies] to seize the benefits of the digital [era] would be most proper and practical,” he said.

MOST VIEWED

  • Ministry issues warning over coronavirus outbreak

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday asked the public to be on “high alert” as a new virus wreaks havoc across Asia. However, no cases have been reported in the Kingdom thus far. The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) has raised the alarm for its similarity to

  • Call for boycott of Angkor unacceptable

    Dear Editor, I wish to express my strong disagreement on the article published by Traveller for their website with the title Best places to go in 2020: 12 destinations you should avoid. Below is my opinion of the article. It is obviously free for the Traveller to

  • Probe underway after wreckage of drone with Chinese characters found

    Air Force Command spokesman Prak Sokha said on Sunday that investigations are underway regarding the wreckage of a drone that was recovered in Koh Kong province’s Koh Sdech commune in Kiri Sakor district. The wreckage has been taken to the capital for further examination,

  • Gov’t slams UN rapporteurs over Sokha trial statement

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Cambodia to the UN Office in Geneva deplored the statement of three UN special rapporteurs who claimed that Kem Sokha’s trial was “tainted” due to irregularities. The reaction

  • No power shortages next dry season, says energy minister

    Minister of Mines and Energy Suy Sem has assured the public that Cambodia will not suffer power shortages during the next dry season. Speaking on local TV on Tuesday, Sem projected a rise in power demand during 2020’s dry season – which starts in November and

  • Gov’t takes steps to lower logistics, transport costs

    With the threat of losing trade privileges in the EU drawing closer, the government is taking measures to reduce logistics and transportation costs to safeguard the Kingdom’s competitiveness. The EU is due to decide whether or not to withdraw the Kingdom’s trade privileges