Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Meeting lauds importance of advancing tech in labour

Meeting lauds importance of advancing tech in labour

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Garment factory workers produce items of apparel at a facility in Kandal province in 2016. Heng Chivoan

Meeting lauds importance of advancing tech in labour

Government officials said on Wednesday that the country’s labour sector still needs time to adapt to the digital economy, while encouraging the industry to embrace technology that would allow them to remain competitive.

The Ministry of Economy and Finance yesterday held a workshop focusing on entrepreneurship within the digital economy. The meeting aimed to outline current challenges and obtain input from the private sector.

Vongsey Vissoth, secretary of state at the Ministry of Economy and Finance, told attendees that Cambodia is in the first stage of a policy framework that would work to bring the sector up to a higher technological standard. The five-year strategy seeks to move the Kingdom up from its current status as a lower-middle-income country.

“It is not easy, we need to do a lot of work to transform our economy to a digital economy” he said.

“We would reach for the goal of a digital economy, but we need time to promote the human capacity and train professional skills.”

The influence of digital technology could help the industry to increase productivity, bring in high-salary jobs as well as boost job security, minimise inequality and close the income gap, he said.

“The coming of the digital economy will bring good opportunities into society and have a positive impact, so we collect all the inputs in order to take action on our plan

to support entrepreneurship through strengthening the infrastructure, financial and skill following the government’s program,” he said, adding that this was the start to bring the digital economy into the mainstream.

Experts from the Asia Development Bank (ADB) warned of disruption within the labour market due to technological advances at the bank’s annual meeting in Manila last week, though bank officials also noted that Cambodia had several programs in place to help mitigate any negative consequences.

Elisabetta Gentile, an economist at the ADB, said technological advances like automation would require workers to acquire new skills in order to stay competitive in the future.

“We have to help [workers] for this transition, in order to contribute to economic growth in the country,” she said.

Cambodia’s government is vocally supportive of such a transition, although it remains to be seen whether the significant investment required to retrain the workforce will be forthcoming.

“It is a real challenge that we will face in the next decade,” said Heng Sour, a spokesman for the Labour Ministry. “We need to move from the labour-intensive [work] to a more knowledge-based industry, and train our workforce to cope with that challenge.”

The ADB has proposed several projects in Cambodia that seek to develop the country’s workforce, including a $60 million project that focuses on educating workers, with the goal of transforming Cambodia’s economy from labour-based to skills-based by 2025.

Keo Mom, CEO of Ly LY Food industry Co Ltd, said this is the time for a technological revolution, and that entrepreneurs need to transform in order to compete in the market.

“Everything in the world market is shifting toward technology, if we want to achieve, we need to transform ourselves to use technological systems even though it is a bit tough at the beginning,” she said. “Of course, we need time to train, but we can gain many benefits from the digital system.”

Cambodians lack functional literacy to fully benefit from exposure to ICT (information and communication technology), Chan Sophal, Director of Center for Policy Studies, said, while integrated logistics systems were not yet developed.

“Cambodia has some parts of the digital economy already, but it still needs more infrastructure, skills and regulations to expand it,” he said. “The quicker Cambodia prepares itself, the better it is, as the future will be more digitised.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • Angkor provides ‘valuable’ water storage

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has stored millions of cubic metres of water at reservoirs in the Angkor area after Cambodia experienced a series of rainstorms over the last few days. The storing of the water, besides serving temple conservation, will also be used to

  • PM urges caution as Polish man tests positive for Covid

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported that a 47-year-old Polish man tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia on Monday. There are a total of six Covid-19 patients currently in the country, all of whom are being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from