A Preah Sihanouk provincial deputy governor on April 28 met with a policy adviser at Australia’s flagship infrastructure programme in Cambodia for talks on plans to transform the province into a model multi-purpose special economic zone (SEZ) by 2030, and other smart-city development initiatives.

Kong Vitanak, who is also the head of the Preah Sihanouk Smart City working group told Investing In Infrastructure (3i) infrastructure policy adviser Rahzeb Chowdhury that the government had designated the province as a model multi-purpose SEZ to incorporate smart-city solutions into provincial planning in a bid to spur economic development primarily in the areas of industry, trade, tourism and agriculture.

The working group is collecting input to prepare an action plan to implement the Land Use Master Plan for Preah Sihanouk with a vision to 2030, Vitanak said, adding that the province will be revamped as a “sustainable national development hub”, comprising “the world’s most beautiful beaches”, the model multi-purpose SEZ, and Sihanoukville – developed as a state-of-the-art city.

The province will also become an international gateway and national logistics hub and “growth centre”, and connect the Kingdom to ASEAN and international markets, he said, adding that development was in line with Cambodia Industrial Development Policy 2015-2025.

At the meeting, Chowdhury ran a presentation on the 3i, which is funded by Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), and noted that the programme has actively assisted the Cambodian government over the past six years to fill the gaps in infrastructure development.

He said work between 3i and the provincial administration to create a smart-city strategy – including two projects concerning the preparation and implementation of the concept – aims to increase the efficiency, effectiveness and speed of drawing up digital technology-infused plans for the provision of public services and urban infrastructure, in a bid to promote sustainable and inclusive smart-city development provincewide.