Fourth Cambodia Economic Forum
On 16-17 February, 2011; on behalf of CEDAC President, I did attend the Fourth Cambodia Economic Forum at the International Conference Hall at the Santepheap Building (Peace Palace). The forum was organized by the Supreme National Economic Council (SNEC) of Cambodia with the topic “Cambodian Economy in Post-Crisis Environment: Industrial Policy-Options Towards a Sustainable Development“.
The Forum was organized for the purposes of presenting and opening up for discussion important researches and analytical works on directions of Cambodia’s future industrial development, thereby helping to further enrich the policy formulation process. It was presided over by Samdech Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Cambodia. Opening remarks were delivered by Dr. Aun Pron Monirath, Chairman of SNEC, the World Bank, ADB and the UNDP. Closing remark was done by H.E. Keat Chhon, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance.
The Forum has two main sessions:
- Thinking beyond the crisis
- Directions of Cambodia’s Future Industrial Policy with two sub-sessions: Industrial Policy Option and Reforming Special Economic Zones (SEZ)
During the forum senior policy officials and selected national and international experts shared their knowledge and perspectives in the following priority development issues: (1) key economic issues on industrialization; (2) investing in human capital to support industrial development and (3) reforming special economic zones in Cambodia.
Besides, best practices and successful stories of industrial development from China, Japan, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia and other countries were presented and discussed widely. There were seven presentations and remarks from 12 different Panelists. Time was allocated for questions, answers, suggestions, feedbacks etc.
For me, the conference was organized in a professional and high level standard. It was the first time for me to join the forum. The third Forum was organized in 2009, amid the Global Economic Crisis. What I likes from the forum the most:
- High level of selected experts both national and international
- Willingness of the Royal Government to open up the economy and to learn from successful experiences and its neighbors
- Room for participation across sectors, though more time would be needed for more discussion
- Effective facilitation
- Interesting topic and adequate contents
- Plenty of reference materials available
- Get to the point contribution from the private sectors
- Modern building with up-to date technology
- Venue is first class with very good service
Some practical suggestions from participants/experts/practitioners to boost economic and industrial development:
- Investment in physical infrastructure (roads, electricity, bridges etc)
- Investment in human capital (vocational trainings, market driven skills, good attitude..)
- Reducing the red tape (briberies, corrupt practices)
- Lower interest rate to give better opportunities for businessmen to lend money for business purposes
- Innovations and improvements as main objective
- Strucural reform
- Law enforcement
- Facilitation role of government to create fair business competetions