To develop its competitive edge as one of the most dynamic regions in the world, Cambodia needs to upgrade its workforce skills and maximise youth dividend and accelerate digital transformation, said UNDP resident representative to Cambodia Alissar Chaker on Friday.
She said the Kingdom also needs to diversify its economy in the direction of green and low-carbon production as it moves forward to realising the country’s 2030 and 2050 visions of becoming a high-middle income and graduating to a high-income country
“Cambodia’s Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector and young workforce offer so much opportunity to realise these ambitions”, said Chaker at the Global Entrepreneurship Week Cambodia 2021.
She added that some of the measures taken by the government in addressing the socio-economic fallout of the pandemic are creditable, including the efforts to strengthen the health system, provide support for workers, and quickly expand its social protection benefits to the poor and vulnerable households.
The UNDP, she said also commands recent measures to introduce online business registration platforms, policy and regulations support, financing, and tax measures to support business recovery and expansion.
Chaker urged all stakeholders to help Cambodia entrepreneurs to enhance their digital and industry 4.0 technologies.
“We need to act collectively and faster to help Cambodia and its young workforce to prepare for a future driven by digital transformation, and green and low-carbon growth, and to ensure that technologies and innovations are also accessible to the vulnerable and marginalised,” she said.
She added that digital transformation is a must for competitiveness in global and regional trade systems and is a prerequisite for stimulating the national economy by facilitating cost-efficiencies in production, marketing and logistics, creating employment, empowering individuals, and spurring innovation and technology transfer.
Chaker said that studies have shown that adopting digital technologies helps MSMEs to realise productivity improvements, expand market access, and build a foundation for further digital integration into their business models.
“When failing to integrate some of these digital technologies, MSMEs are less likely to thrive in a business environment disrupted by a crisis such as the Covid-19 pandemic. A skilled workforce and digital literacy are crucial for the success of MSMEs’ digital adoption and integration in the digital economy,” she added.
Young Entrepreneurs Association of Cambodia president Seang Sopagna said the development of this skill is very important but it requires everyone to pay attention and strengthen their capacity.
“We have to start thinking about digital and other technical skills and in order to transform our society to be digital socialisation, the government, the people, especially the youth need to have digital skills” he added.
He said that digital can be a new source of growth that will complement the existing and long-term economic growth of the nation.
He added that the Covid-19 crisis had a significant impact on socio-economic progress as this has resulted in an unprecedented increase in the unemployment rate to 4.8% and the loss of more than 50,000 jobs in the tourism sector alone last year.
Recognising the important role of a skilled workforce and MSMEs as drivers for economic recovery post-Covid, UNDP has forged strategic partnerships with the Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of Economy, Khmer Enterprise, and the Ministry of Labour to support a number of initiatives for accelerating the recovery and growth of MSMEs through removing key barriers to the adoption of digital solutions, e-commerce, and exports.
This year, these programmes have helped up to 100,000 youth access job information, 500 workers affected by the pandemic to secure employment, and more than 500,000 MSMEs and 2,500 young entrepreneurs, both women and men, to transition to digital ways of doing business.
This article was first published in Khmer Times. All contents and images are copyright to their respective owners and sources.