The government has established the National Economic and Digital Society Council (NEDSC) to build a foundation of a digital society to drive new economic growth, according to a royal decree on the council’s organisation and functioning released on September 8.
The decree designates the NEDSC as an arm of the government, commissioned to lay a solid foundation for digital adoption and transformation across all social actors – including the state, citizens and businesses.
The council is to lead, coordinate and enhance the building and development of a “vibrant” digital socio-economic ecosystem that stimulates new economic growth and improves social welfare.
The NEDSC will assume roles and responsibilities involved in defining the vision and principles of digital socio-economic development, as well as the preparation, configuration and launching of associated policies and strategies that set out mechanisms for implementation, monitoring and evaluation.
The council is also tasked with proposing and advising the government on the preparation of laws and legal documents that may have a bearing on digital socio-economic development, as well as making recommendations on pertinent investment plans.
The NEDSC will comprise three units – the Digital Economy and Business Committee, Digital Government Committee, and Digital Security Committee.
NEDSC was designed in line with the Cambodia Digital Economy and Social Policy Framework 2021-2035, which was recently launched by the government.
Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth highlighted in the document that this vision must be achieved within 15 years, by 2035, in accordance with its three main components – “building a digital foundation”, “digital adaptation”, and “digital transformation”.
With Covid lingering, the framework “will be an important part of the post-Covid-19 economic recovery planning framework, and incorporate digital infrastructure development, domestic and foreign investment attraction, and the encouragement of new business ventures”, he said.
First Womentech Asia Co Ltd business operations adviser Bin Socheat believes that the council represents an opportunity for Cambodia to bulk up capacity in its tech sector, which he said “seems to be the slowest” among ASEAN countries.
“We need to expand our capacity and increase technology innovation in the economic and business community to usher in the emergence of a ‘new normal’, to keep up with the others,” he said.