The Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) has launched the five-pillared Cambodia Science, Technology and Innovation Roadmap for 2030, in a bid to create an ecosystem of knowledge management, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit, designed to be inclusive, sustainable and conducive to the relevant economic sectors and set the stage for fresh investment prospects.
The government has pinpointed science, technology and innovation (STI) as the key elements to pave the way for Cambodia to achieve its broader ambitious vision of becoming an “upper-middle income” country by 2030 and a “high-income” economy by 2050, as defined by the World Bank.
Minister of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation Cham Prasidh described STI as the backbone of success in the country’s development process, saying that the government has embraced and integrated them into this “pivotal” roadmap that will allow the Kingdom to enter a “new era of vibrant civilisation”.
“I am staunchly committed to promoting STI in order to achieve sustainable economic growth and an inclusive environment for the Cambodian motherland,” he said.
The Cambodia Science, Technology and Innovation Roadmap for 2030 is designed around five pillars, the first of which aims to strengthen governance frameworks and operationalisation relating to STI, and recognises the ministry as the agency in charge of coordinating the implementation of pertinent policies.
The second is targeted at increasing the number of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (Stem) university students by at least 50 per cent and building STI human resources.
The third is geared towards investing one per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) in scientific research to improve – among other dimensions – its scope, scale, validity, credibility, quality, usefulness, efficiency, competence and reach.
The fourth centres on reinforcing cooperation and communication networks among stakeholders.
And the fifth is earmarked to help fashion an ecosystem that creates an environment conducive to innovation, which attracts investment in STI-related fields, promotes technology transfer, and enhances companies’ absorptive capacities – their abilities to identify, integrate and exploit viable new external knowledge to commercial ends.
Prime Minister Hun Sen said in the roadmap that strengthening technological capacity and stimulating innovation achievements are the key decisive factors in realising the RGC’s determination to become an “upper-middle income” country by 2030 and a “high-income” economy by 2050.
For fiscal year 2022 – corresponding to the period from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022, the World Bank defines an “upper-middle income” country as one with gross national income (GNI) per capita from $4,096-12,695, and “high-income” economies as those with a GNI per capita of $12,696 or more, as calculated by the bank’s Atlas method.
The World Bank recognises Cambodia as a “lower middle income” country, one rank below the “upper-middle income” designation, with GNI per capita of $1,480 for fiscal year 2020 – the 12-month period ended June 30, 2020.
“Lower middle-income” economies that year were those with a GNI per capita from $1,026 and $3,995. That range has been revised to $1,046-4,095 for fiscal year 2022.
The prime minister added that the STI ecosystem will play an indispensable role in shifting the course of economic development from traditional growth-oriented models to a more inclusive and sustainable pattern.
The STI community will help create an environment and accelerate the structural transformation that is needed to provide prosperity, security, safety, socio-economic development and a better quality of life in the Kingdom, he said.
“The Cambodia Science, Technology and Innovation Roadmap for 2030 is an important and up-to-date asset that orients not only economic recovery but also structural transformation and diversification, and steers the economy towards greater productivity.
“In this sense, the roadmap will be a catalyst for the economic transformation from a labour-intensive economy to a skills-based one, giving rise to an innovation-based nation geared for development,” Hun Sen said.
Super App Technology Plc founder Path Chamnan told The Post that STI-collaboration is essential in the development and operation of his company, as well as the effective management of production and supply chain operations, to ensure a faster time to market.
He explained that his firm “operates a platform for express delivery services, against a backdrop of people looking to sell merchandise on social media, where sellers and buyers need to be connected”.
“And in collecting cash for clients, our company works with banking partners, as an example of leveraging the technology and innovation ecosystem,” Chamnan said.