What is the National Digital Economic and Social Council?

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In September 2021, the Cambodian government launched the National Digital Economic and Social Council. We review the Council’s plans and members.

What is the role of the National Digital Economic and Social Council?

The National Digital Economic and Social Council seeks to drive digital economic and social development in the Kingdom. This could include outlining the principles or advising for digital economic development from mobilising financial, technical and human resources, and promoting law enforcement, read the Royal Decree signed by His Majesty Preah Bat Samdech Preah Boromneath Norodom Sihamoni, King of Cambodia, on September 7 2021.

The large council has three committees:

  • Committee of Digital Economic and Business
  • Committee of Digital Government
  • Committee of Digital Security

The council is required to hold meetings every six months or could hold extraordinary meetings.

The formation of the Council follows an increasing number of frameworks and policies released by the government aimed at the digital economy.

Who is on the National Digital Economic and Social Council in 2021?

The Cambodian prime minister Hun Sen is the chairman of the council, while one of the deputy prime ministers will serve as a permanent deputy chairman. Five ministers from the following will serve as deputy chairpersons on the council:

  • Ministry of Interior
  • Ministry of Defense
  • Ministry of Economy and Finance
  • Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation
  • Ministry of Posts and Telecommunication

In addition, Ministers from 20 other ministries, a representative of the National Supreme Economic Council, and the governor of the National Bank of Cambodia, will be Council members.

The council can also add members from heads of institutions and but they will be announced by a sub-decree.

Furthermore, the Khmer Times reports that “a digital technology consulting group, composed of relevant parties from development partners, research centres, the education sector and the private sector, is tasked to provide policy consultation and cooperation for the council.”

Growth of digital economies in Southeast Asia

According to a new “2021 Digital Consumer Report“, released by Facebook, in partnership with Bain & Company, 70 million people have become digital consumers in Southeast Asia since the start of COVID-19.

78 per cent of the SEA population of 15-year-olds and above will be digital consumers by the end of 2021 the report suggests.

  • SEA online retail penetration is projected to grow 85% year-on-year by end-2021.
  • SEA e-commerce gross merchandise value is expected to reach US$254 billion within 5 years – nearly double the US$132 billion in 2021.
  • E-wallets are preferred by 37% of consumers compared with 28% who say they still prefer cash.
  • More than 80% of venture capital funds have entered the internet and technology space – a majority into the fintech sector.

We have outlined the government’s desire to increase the growth of the digital economy in a number of articles. You can read more about the potential of NFTs in Cambodia and the economic ambitions and development for 2022 and beyond here.

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