Cambodia’s Ministry of Commerce has joined forces with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the WTO’s Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) to offer a $500,000 investment to help local businesses go online.

The $500,000 investment has been earmarked by the Cambodian government, the World Trade Organisation’s Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) and the UNDP to help 125 small and medium sized businesses to move online, sell online, and to sell overseas. Sales will be conducted through a new online marketplace [B2B2C] being developed by the Ministry of Commerce.

The funds will be used to pay for grants as well as training programs. A portion of the funds will be set aside for businesses owned by women as well as businesses based outside of Phnom Penh.

The latest funding initiative is expected to form a key component of the Cambodia government’s e-commerce acceleration project (Go4eCam) which aims to boost domestic and international opportunities for small and medium enterprises through a digital platform.

Speaking at the launch of the government’s E-commerce Strategy, Pan Sorasak, Minister of Commerce, said: “The Go4eCAM project is launching at the right time, coinciding with the approval of the e-commerce law and the launch of the E-commerce Strategy. The project will provide many other benefits, including increasing productivity, innovation, business expansion and job creation in Cambodia.”

UNDP resident representative Nick Beresford said: “Cambodia’s new e-commerce strategy, combined with the right incentives and investments, could be a game-changer to propel inclusive growth in the recovery from Covid-19.

“Inclusive investment in people, in skills development and in digital infrastructure for everyone [is] absolutely crucial.”

According to the Cambodian government, Cambodia’s e-commerce sector has grown exponentially in the past decade. The government sees E-commerce and digitisation as crucial to ensure a full, rapid and sustained economic recovery for the country.

The government passed the landmark 2019 E-commerce Law, a set of sub-decrees to ease registration for e-commerce-based businesses, the Consumer Protection Law to protect the rights of online shoppers and businesses and the recently launched E-commerce Strategy.

Australian ambassador Pablo Kang said: “Cambodia’s e-commerce sector is rapidly moving forward, driven further by businesses moving online to mitigate the impact of Covid-19.

“As an EIF contributor and through our projects that support e-commerce regulatory acceleration and uptake, Australia is helping equip Cambodians with the necessary tools and kills to compete in this new economy, ensuring that Cambodia’s digital future will be inclusive.”