With the socio-economic digital transformation to the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) moving at a brisk pace, the emerging technologies of the era are sure to affect all business sectors and social groups.
To keep up pace with the technological advancement and thrive, all businesspeople, in particular women, need to broaden their financial knowledge and digital know-how, a senior official urged.
Chhun Hak – director-general of Gender Equality and Economic Development at the Ministry of Women’s Affairs – made the call as his ministry organised a "Financial and Digital Knowledge" training course with 75 women participants from four target provinces including Siem Reap, Preah Vihear, Stung Treng and Kratie.
The training course was conducted in collaboration with the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC), with corporate sponsorship provided by US-based financial services corporation Visa (Cambodia).
"One of the main tasks for all of us is to adapt and accept that change is coming and take advantage of digital technology in order for all of us to be actively involved in socio-economic development, as well as to participate in a better and more sustainable digital society.
"This requires everyone, especially young women entrepreneurs, to strongly develop themselves into new digital and modern citizens so as to catch up with the new era and expanding opportunities and potential and contribute to the rehabilitation of socio-economic development in line with the context of Industry 4.0," he said.
Industry 4.0 refers to the rapid changes to society now underway due to networking and information technologies, as well as smart automation, robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) computing that utilises algorithms to analyse massive quantities of data, which is already resulting in unanticipated advances in many scientific and technical fields.
Ivana Tranchini, country manager for Visa Cambodia, said financial and digital literacy is an important driving force in sustaining the national and household economies, noting that the current level of financial and digital understanding possessed by women in the Kingdom is insufficient for the challenges they face.
“Through this training, we will be able to meet the practical needs of female entrepreneurs with basic financial and digital literacy and practical skills programmes that could give them lifelong benefits in this constantly developing situation,” she said.
According to a 2021 report by the Cambodia Women Enterpreneurs Association (CWEA), 61 per cent of all businesses across Cambodia were women-owned. Among those ventures, 62 per cent are microbusinesses with fewer than 10 employees, 26 per cent are small enterprises with 10 to 49 staffers and 12 per cent are medium-sized enterprises with 50 to 249 people.
Most women-owned businesses are related to wholesale and retail services, accommodations and food service via restaurants, with some manufacturing and other services, and those sectors account for 97 per cent of women's businesses in total.
The Ministry of Economy and Finance is preparing policies for the digital economy, but according to finance minister Aun Pornmoniroth, it will take another decade of development for Cambodia to make the economy fully digital and modern.