Cambodia’s Digital Economy: World Bank Report

In a recently released Cambodia Policy Note titled “Benefitting From the Digital Economy,” the World Bank assess four interconnected policy areas in Cambodia: Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Digital Economy, Microfinance and Household Welfare, and Social Assistance

Acknowledging that Cambodia has seen great successes in poverty reduction and shared prosperity, the report notes that the focus on tourism, agriculture, construction and garment-sector as growth drivers must be diversified to ensure sustained economic growth for the next 20 years.

The report highlighted 4 key areas that need to be addressed for Cambodia to receive greater benefits from the digital economy:

• Low fixed-broadband subscriptions: High mobile penetration is not matched by widespread use of high-speed fixed-broadband services, leaving Cambodia behind regional and global averages.

• Low digital adoption in corporate sector: Less than ¼ of businesses in Cambodia had a website in 2017, compared to a world media of 46 percent. This is compounded by a lack of service data servers, low IT skills and an incomplete legal framework.

• Lack of leadership in digital government development: Despite the recent establishment of a Government Data Center, Cambodia does not have a guiding framework and lacks security standards for websites and cloud services.

• Investment needed in infrastructure, regulations and skills: A focus should be put on mandating greater passive infrastructure sharing among Cambodia’s telecom operators; creating a Digital Skills Readiness Strategy; adopting laws in e-commerce, cybersecurity, and data protection and privacy; and better support of the Digital Government Strategy.

The biggest takeaway from the report is that there are plenty of policy options and untapped potential that Cambodia can leverage, including from the entrepreneur sector.

“While the country’s economic outlook remains positive, Cambodia could begin to explore new drivers of growth that will create jobs and boost prosperity over the next 20 years. The country’s next economic transformation will rest on its ability to empower domestic entrepreneurs and citizens with capabilities and tools for the modern economy of tomorrow”

One area identified is in the space of digital payments. As the following images from the report show, Cambodia has huge growth potential in these areas.

The report notes that the Ministry of Economy and Finance, Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Information, and the Council for the Development of Cambodia have formed a working committee to support the government’s Digital Government Strategy, and Geeks look forward to hearing more from these ministries in 2019 about their efforts to boost Cambodia’s digital economy.

With 2018 being such a great year for the tech scene in the Kingdom, this report highlights that there is still plenty of room for startups and entrepreneurs to provide digital and tech solutions that will benefit millions of Cambodians, and help drive the country’s digital development!