In a bid to enhance collaboration in the area of inspection, Cambodian and Cuban officials are planning reciprocal visits to share insights and evaluate the potential for signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU).

Minister of Inspection Minister Huot Hak and Cuban ambassador to Cambodia Liurka Rodriguez Barrios discussed the issue during their meeting in Phnom Penh on December 5. 

According to a ministry press release, Hak spoke highly of the six-decade diplomatic ties between the two countries, characterising the relationship as one of mutual assistance and support on the global stage.

He mentioned collaborative efforts in education, sports, culture, agriculture and health, while also underscoring Cuba’s support during the post-Khmer Rouge era.

“Cambodia has improved in almost every aspect, including politics and social economics. The current environment is conducive to tourism development and attracting investments,” he said.

The release noted an agreement to explore an MoU on inspection, to be facilitated by the Cuban embassy in Phnom Penh. 

It also mentioned plans for an exchange of visits to enhance understanding and knowledge sharing in compliance monitoring. 

Pa Chanroeun, president of the Cambodian Institute for Democracy (CID), opined that while Cambodia engages in collaborative learning, Cuba may offer limited insights. He suggested prioritising collaboration with democratic nations in the inspection sector.

“We can learn from Cuba on verification and oversight, but given their governance challenges and corruption ranking, there’s limited democratic insight,” he said.

Pech Pisey, executive director of Transparency International (TI) Cambodia, said the Kingdom should strengthen its institutional management and inspection capacity by learning from neighbouring nations like Singapore.

“I believe Cuba isn’t a model country to learn much about institutional performance or political stability. That said, while their state institutions and inspections show capacity, we can gain more from learning about their experiences, including failures,” he added.

Ministry spokesperson Nop Channarin said the countries can benefit from insights into the inspection sector, collaboration and reciprocal visits. While Cuba lacks an inspection ministry, it has equivalent institutions.

“We strive to enhance cooperation without expecting gains or losses. We share what we have, and they reciprocate,” he said.