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Visions and challenges for a sector with much potential
18 June 2019
Issues that stem from a lack of digital literacy, familiarity with certain technologies, infrastructure, and a legal framework stand in the way of growth in Cambodia’s e-commerce sector, Chanvoitey Horn writes.
The expansion of e-commerce has the potential to propel Cambodia’s economic growth in both obvious and subtle ways. One might look to Vietnam, its neighbour – its e-commerce growth rate ranking second in Southeast Asia, with an annual growth of 87 per cent, worth $2.8 billion – for an example of what is achievable in the region.
Yet in Cambodia, e-commerce remains limited even with the recent rise of small-scale entrepreneurs. Though it is important to acknowledge the progress that has been made, it is also crucial that we think more about the hurdles that stand in the way of prosperity.
Firstly, problems associated with poor digital literacy among a significant proportion of Cambodia’s population hinder the development of digital businesses. In 2018, there were 19.5 million people subscribed to six mobile operators, of which 13.6 million had access to the Internet and 7 million used Facebook.
Yet, in Cambodia, technology is not often used for purposes past messaging, social media, and entertainment. More sophisticated usages go unexplored, and opportunities that could bring about great financial gain go undiscovered.
More on this: Taming the world's tech giants
Smart, a national telecom firm, has provided $1.5 million in funding for schemes designed to improve digital literacy. The SmartEdu Scholarship Program and the SmartEdu University Student Development Program have been established to increase the prevalence of e-commerce in the country. The company has even signed an agreement with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport as well as the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications to develop local talent to help support a growing a digital economy.
Yet the skill shortage in Cambodia’s IT sector has slowed industrial development and has only led to increasing costs for businesses. This has, in turn, negatively impacted the competitiveness of the country’s businesses.
Full article: https://www.policyforum.net/taking-thin ... -commerce/
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