UNIDO, ADB discussion on boosting Cambodia’s 4IR transformation

UNIDO, ADB discussion on boosting Cambodia’s 4IR transformation

PHNOM PENH, 8 December 2021 - The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), in collaboration with the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation and the Ministry of Economic and Finance, have kick-started a virtual discussion on the status of Cambodia’s fourth industrial revolution (4IR) and pathways for the country’s transformation to this new industrial model by 2030.

Some 400 participants from relevant government bodies, development agencies, academia, private sector, and media institutions joined the Cambodia 4IR workshop from 7-8 December.

ADB Acting Country Director for Cambodia, Anthony Gill, said, “The fourth industrial revolution model can foster business profits and better labour integration in production, and improve environmental sustainability through the introduction of new and better goods into the market and the increase of production efficiency through the digitalization and interconnectivity of production processes.”

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has spurred Cambodia to further catalyze efforts to improve the country’s digital readiness and resilience to future crises and offer its citizens and communities opportunities to reap the benefits of digitalization. To facilitate this, the Government of Cambodia has put in place a passage of National STI Policy 2020-2030, Cambodia Digital Economy and Society Policy Framework 2021-2035, and Cambodia’s STI Roadmap 2030.

Through the UNIDO Programme for Country Partnership for Cambodia, which is a government-led multi-stakeholder partnership programme aimed at advancing inclusive and sustainable industrial development, UNIDO will continue to support the Government in its efforts towards socio-economic recovery and the mobilization of partners and resources for its national development goals, including through the adoption of 4IR technologies.

Pauline Tamesis, UN Resident Coordinator to Cambodia, added, “The COVID-19 pandemic has provided an opportunity for digital transformation. How can we ensure that the unfolding technological transformations in Cambodia are leveraged in ways that leave no one behind? The answers depend on our ability to work together across disciplines and actors. The UN system stands ready to help the Government on this transition.”

Kitti Settha Pandita Cham Prasidh, Senior Minister and Minister of Industry, Science, Technology and innovation, said, “The two-year experience with the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the pivotal role of science, technology and innovation in the mitigation of global disaster and in establishing strategies for sociology-economic recovery.”

UNIDO’s Managing Director of Directorate of Digitization, Technology and Agribusiness, Bernardo Calzadilla-Sarmiento, highlighted that “despite efforts by different stakeholders, the inequality divide between rich and poor nations, low digital and technology literacy, poor access to key technologies, and lack of policies and norms to develop a conducive 4IR environment, stand as remaining key challenges to integrate 4IR practices across their economic and social spectrum.”

Calzadilla-Sarmiento continued, “UNIDO has taken note of the adoption of the STI roadmap by the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation. Through, the ongoing Programme for Country Partnership Cambodia - and in cooperation with relevant partners, UNIDO is committed to support Cambodia in reaping the benefits of the 4IR."

The two-day workshop brought together distinguished speakers from a variety of sectors who shared the experiences and  findings from (i) diagnostic studies and policy analyses, (ii) progresses and challenges in the implementation of the government’s policies and strategies, (iii) experiences of national and international industries in adopting new technologies, and (iv) the role of education and training institutions in preparing and strengthening the country’s competitiveness under the new industry model.

“ADB has been Cambodia’s long-standing partner in helping to create a better-educated, skilled and more resilient work force to meet the rapidly changing current and future skill needs of industry. In the latest move, ADB, with the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training, the Ministry of Economy and Finance, and the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia, is finalizing a study on Industry Transformation Map for the textile and apparel industry that highlights both opportunities and risks for the industry’s competitiveness,” added Gill.

“Innovative solutions require further investment in research and development and STI infrastructures, proper development of human capital, and a robust national STI ecosystem. A strategic collaboration of all stakeholders is indispensable,” added Cham Prasidh.

Looking to the future, under the auspices of PCP Cambodia, UNIDO and ADB will take stock of all the information and recommendations shared in this workshop to develop tailored projects, programmes and events to facilitate the implementation of possible-tangible actions that will catalyze the 4IR transition in Cambodia.

More information about the UNIDO Programme for Country Partnership for Cambodia