The Institute of Digital Research and Innovation (IDRI) of the Cambodia Academy of Digital Technology (CADT) and Germany’s GIZ ICONE programme have entered into a partnership to bring the Cambodian digital transformation to northwestern provinces.

A cooperation agreement was penned to this effect on April 5 by GIZ ICONE director Dr Stefan Hanselmann and IDRI director-general Sam Sethserey at the CADT office in the capital.

The agreement aims to “support enterprises in Cambodia’s Northwest, specifically in Siem Reap, Battambang and Banteay Meanchey, to increase their productivity and to advance their digital journey”, according to a joint statement.

“The cooperation includes the introduction of digital applications and solutions, digital skills training and knowledge exchange events in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Battambang and Banteay Meanchey.

“Additionally, the GIZ ICONE and IDRI cooperation will promote data-driven innovation in processing and manufacturing industries to create an environment that enables and supports Cambodia´s journey towards a modern and diversified economy applying Industry 4.0 solutions,” it said.

At the signing ceremony, GIZ ICONE’s Dr Hanselmann stressed that bridging the digital gap across genders and between the capital and economically developing provinces, coupled with the empowerment of women-run businesses, would be key to the Kingdom’s long-term pursuit of economic resilience, according to the statement.

Through the CADT’s innovation centre in Phnom Penh and the GIZ ICONE programme office outside the capital, this partnership intends to close these digital gaps, he said. The statement notes that the GIZ ICONE office is located in Traing village, Slakram commune, Siem Reap town.

CADT president Seng Sopheap said in the statement that the deal comes at the “right time” to bring digital solutions and talent to businesses outside the capital, and expand the CADT’s operations to more provinces.

He added that the “cooperation among all actors in the ecosystem is needed to push for Cambodian tech solutions developed for and by Cambodians to better life, education and business beyond Phnom Penh”.

The statement added: “The newly launched GIZ ICONE programme implemented by Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit [GIZ] on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development [BMZ], promotes the competitiveness of national enterprises by improving their productivity, efficiency and capacities to innovate.

“Sharing the vision of promoting digital technologies beyond the vibrant IT [information technology] ecosystem in Phnom Penh, both parties set forth activities to work together to close the digital gulf and advance digital solutions to give enterprises outside of Phnom Penh a competitive edge.”

In early February, the Cambodian Digital Government Policy 2022-2035 was launched to establish a “smart” government underpinned by digital infrastructure and technologies that modernise governance structures and guide reforms in all sectors.