Cambodian Science and Technology Development



After gaining independence in 1945 from Netherlands,  Indonesia issued a document titled Constitution 1945 of Republic of Indonesia*, which is this document on chapter 31 emphasized the importance of science and technology development in Indonesia, especially after the WWII and last civil war in Indonesia.  Under Suharto, President of Indonesia at the time began promoting science and technology by launching five-year development plans which lead to the creation of Indonesia Ministry of Research and Technology in 1970 and later National Research Center for Science and Technology and Life Science Center.

Cambodia has also launched  National Science and Technology Master Plan 2014-2020 in October 2014 by Ministry of Planning with Korea  International Cooperation Agency where its key focus is on industrial innovation, mainly on agriculture, primary industries and information, and communication technology (ICT). On the same year, the Cambodian government also launched ICT master plan 2020 which aligned with ASEAN ICT Master Plan 2015, where it focused on human resource, enhancing digital literacy using training especially Cambodia rural areas, access to computers for government employees, infrastructure expansion, cyber-security and more where it aimed to achieve 70%Internet penetration in Cambodia by 2020. Information and technology are important in countries development and lack of technology has prevented Cambodia’s budget drafting process and ability to share information with other employees in the government department. like Brunei, whom in the on-going process of diversifying its economy from O&G to other industry, Cambodia also wanted to explore into other industry from garments export base to agricultural processing, manufacturing, and electronics which require skilled and educated workforce. As Cambodia is agriculture-based country, agriculture development is the main priority for the Cambodian government to address poverty crisis and rural development. Cambodia emphasize on government strategic vision to diversify into economic development from agriculture into tourism, garment, construction dependence and technology-oriented economy.

UNESCO said that Cambodia has rapid-developing where engineering and human resource played an important role in country’s development process although science and engineering education still at initial stage.  A study conducted by Cambodian  Document and Research Institute in 2015 said that Cambodia needs 35000 engineers and 46000 technicians to keep  6-8% growth of GDP in coming years. However the current state of higher education in Cambodia unable to meet the demand required by this two industry where Cambodian stakeholders now taking action to address this issue. Ministry of Planning working on promotion of STI by collaborating with education, Youth and Sport Ministry, Ministry of Industry and Handicraft and Ministry of Labor to promote STI to all education institutes, Cambodian citizen, especially in the rural areas but limited knowledge among students,policymakers is a barrier for STI development and this influence the need of promotion in the country.  Promotion of STI will take a long time in a developing country like Cambodia, and this led to the establishment of the platform by Cambodian government so that all stakeholders can come and work together which now coordinated by National Council of Science and Technology who played a role to coordinate all relevant agencies to work together as a team for social benefit. Institute of Technology Cambodia was founded in 1964 to educate Cambodia citizens on the importance of science, technology, and innovation and applying it to improve Cambodia economy development.

Internet use in Cambodia according to Open Development Cambodia was at 414% in 2014 but penetration still remains low at 25%, compared to 42% of global Internet penetration. It was reported that a new telecom submarine cable, ending at Sihanoukville and connected to Rayong-Thailand and Kuantan, Pahang, Malaysia will be completed in early 2017 where an agreement between  Ministry of Post and Telecommunication and Cambodia Fibre Optic Cable Network to build cable landing station in Sihanoukville and connected to already existing AAE-1 Cable in Southeast Asia region. The government also expected an increase up to 80% in internet usage by 2020 after all areas and cities in Cambodia were connected with telecom and Internet network. On 22nd August 2016, Microsoft launched the Microsoft Student Partners program in Cambodia, in partnership with local-governmental organization STEM Cambodia at an opening event at the royal university of Phnom Penh. Microsoft Student Partners aims to cultivate technology skills among youths by providing a platform to grow student communities focused on technology, access the latest technology tools and resources.Microsoft expects to recruit about 100 MSPs from tertiary institutions in the next 12 months through STEM Cambodia. There will be many opportunities to build leadership and communication skills through organizing events, workshops and technology demonstrations Microsoft’s partnerships with NGOs such as STEM. Cambodia mean that more youth, especially in undeserved communities and diverse populations in the region will have access to computer science education and build skills critical for future success.

Dr Chan Roath, Director of Department Scientific Research, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport of Cambodia has outlined solutions to improve Cambodia’s science and technology industry where focus on developing national S&T development policy and strategy where promotion of S&T through education is used,  enhance the capacity of S&T teachers a tall levels, motivation in doing S&T research needs to be increased,strengthening of basic science education at all levels where opportunities is provided for lifelong science and tech learning, S&T awareness to public needs to be increased among Cambodian citizen, especially in rural areas to increase interest to be part of science and tech development in Cambodia and tobe on par with another country in the world.As an economy develops, technology often becomes a catalyst to this growth, as one of the fastest growing sectors in Cambodia; technology is already been fitting the nation. The increase of mobile and Internet users in Cambodia means there is enormous potential for business growth and employment opportunities in the technology sector. Technology has transformed how people live, learn, and communicate, as well as provided tools for making powerful, lasting changes which also has an amazing ability to bridge the gaps between people across oceans, markets, languages, and social classes. Therefore, United States recognizes the contributions that technology can make toward Cambodia’s progress in improving their technology sector which also led to the promotion of technology in education, and develop a stronger relationship with Cambodian citizen, which will benefit Cambodia’s economic development in years to come.

National Institute of Posts,Telecommunications, and Information Communication Technology is established to be Cambodia’s premier public research institution where they provide state of art education centre, research, and training in the fields of posts, telecommunications and ICT whom also aimed to develop qualified and committed professionals who will play a role in Cambodia’s development in science, technology and innovation industry and integration into ASEAN Economic Community.  Their strategy is to develop information technology into teaching, learning, research, school management, cooperation with international universities and research institutions, and to enhance Cambodia’s on the importance of capacity building, social-networking skills and leadership in the field they will participate in and to contribute to Cambodia’s economic development.  On 18th January 2017, Phnom Penh Posts, one of Cambodia’s leading news media said that Cambodia’s ICT industry currently facing lack of skilled workers that caused the industry development to slow down, which led to increase of business costs and affected the firm competitiveness in Cambodia based on the Cambodia IT Industry Skills Digital economy report, produced by Digital Rain who conducted survey in 21 institutions and businesses in Cambodia. The result shows that 75% of IT-related businesses unable to hire competent IT staff/graduates, entry-level applicant’s low IT skills, and a shortage of qualified senior staff in IT industry which put Cambodia’s effort to be new IT international outsourcing location in doubt.

On October 30, 2015, two Japanese companies, Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Member Co, have signed a memorandum with the Cambodian government to develop ICT-based road and traffic system Phnom Phenh, the largest city in Cambodia, as part of SMART City Plan. This agreement will see the collaboration between Cambodia-Japan in development on road and traffic technologies to reduce the traffic congestion on the capital’s roads due to increased car ownership in Cambodia.  Member intends to promote SMART City Plan in Phnom Phenh by using street lights to function as communication-based using built-in wireless networking technology., which will also control traffic and road systems in the capital.  Huawei, leading global ICT solutions provider, said that Cambodia has done well in rapidly developing its ICT industry which is crucial in contributing to socioeconomic development in Cambodia. Huawei currently investing in Cambodia’s industry to ensure continuous economic development, producing qualified ICT workers, and enhance social welfare activities and also participating in building Cambodia’s national broadband connection to reduce the digital divide among Cambodians. Huawei’s communication services covered 70% of Cambodian consumers and their phone brand ranked third in Cambodian market share plus developing 1,000  Cambodian ICT talents, which will bring back knowledge to continue to improve Cambodia  ICT industry and ensure stable economic development.


H.E. Khieu Khanrith

Cambodian Minister of Information

With all of this development, Cambodia can reduce its reliance on agriculture and diversify their economy into other sectors, other than ICT, such as tourism industry, media industry, financial industry and many more which will enhance Cambodia’s competitiveness in increasingly challenging globalization world that we are facing now. This will ensure Cambodia’s continuous economy development and improve the welfare of Cambodian citizens and turn them into knowledgeable and ICT literate