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South Korea funds tech advance
PHNOM PENH--A digital government center has been launched to boost the Cambodian government’s efforts in developing digital governance.
The Ministry of Post and Telecommunications inaugurated the Digital Government Cooperation Centre (DGCC) this week with financial support from the government of the Republic of Korea.
Visothy So, secretary of state at the Ministry of Post and Telecommunications, said the center would serve as a digital hub that aims to offer training to civil servants in all ministries and key public institutions on digital governance and to help establish a digital governing system.
“The DGCC will help promote the implementation of the Digital Economy and Social Policy Framework of Cambodia 2021-2035 policy that aims to transform servants’ procedures and work flow to digital operation,” Visothy said, adding that the center is funded with a $1 million grant from the government of Korea.
He said the training for civil servants will cover basic and advance courses, mainly internal electronic document management and electronic documents implementation as a case study to apply in their daily work.
Park Heung-kyeong, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Cambodia, hoped that the center will assist the Cambodian government to successfully implement its Digital Economy and Social Policy Framework 2021-2035.
“I trust that the Digital Government Cooperation Center will play a key role in the journey of developing digital government in Cambodia,” Park said.
He added that Cambodia and Korea have been working closely to develop digital government, pointing out that both sides had signed the digital government cooperation agreement in 2019.
“The center will not only serve as a good window of communication to provide useful policy advice, but also function as an avenue to share the experience and knowledge we have gained in the digital field,” Park added.
Asked how the center will contribute to digital transformation in governing systems, Visothy said it will enhance the flow of administrative work for the development of digital information systems, capacity building on the implementation the law on digital government as well as develop cloud technology using open sources.
“This center aimed to serve as a platform for government to set clear direction for digital transformation and achieve the goals of providing effective public services,” the spokesperson said, adding the country will acquire useful experience and technological transfer as well as best practice in the digital government transformation from the Korean side.
The Korea government has become one of Cambodia’s largest development partners since it started to provide the Southeast Asian nation with small-scale humanitarian assistance in the early 1990s. The official development assistance (ODA) has been expanded to as many as 70 projects in the areas of education, industry, health, culture as well as Information and Communication Technologies.
Chheng Kimlong, director of the Center for Governance Innovation and Democracy at the Asian Vision Institute, agreed that the DGCC will contribute to the advancement of the administrative work related to social and economic affairs.
“The DGCC is a very crucial hub for public servants and digital operators as they will be provided with technical support from government to build capacity in response to the social demands and become capable human resources who can catch up with digital transformation,” Kimlong said.
When asked about challenges facing the country when it comes to building up digital government, Kimlong said there are three main challenges.
First, was the lack of digital skills among civil servants who know only about using smartphones at work while only a few of them are capable of creating digital program and apps.
The second challenge is the limited digital infrastructure to support digital transformation.
“Third, I think there are still a small number of tech startups working to provide assistance to digital government policy development,” Kimlong added.
To push forward the Industrial revolution and for a digital leapfrog in Cambodia, the expert recommended more encouragement and support for young people through training, capacity-building and technical support.
The government can also encourage private sectors to invest more in digital works and ecosystems, adding that the policy on tax reduction for tech startups should also be introduced so that the number of tech companies will rise.
“The government should support their accomplishment like programs or applications to integrate in the public administration and modernize the systems to reach a high standard. It’s really helpful for the government, business owners as well as students so that they will be up with the phase of digitalization,” he concluded.