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The Asian Productivity Organization (APO) announced the release of the Cambodia National Productivity Master Plan 2020–2030. The document and recommendations were handed to Cambodia’s Senior Minister of Industry and Handicraft Kitti Setha Pandita Cham Prasidh by APO Secretary-General Dr. Santhi Kanoktanaporn in Phnom Penh, 13 December 2018. The master plan recommends strategic actions for driving Cambodia’s growth strategy, enabling it to achieve upper middle-income country status by 2030.
Cambodia has enjoyed strong economic growth averaging 7% per annum over the last 25 years, making it one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. That allowed the country to graduate from a low-income to a lower middle-income economy, as defined by the World Bank, in 2016. However, for Cambodia to sustain economic growth, raise per capita income, reduce poverty, and achieve the upper middle-income country goal, it must shift toward an economy driven by productivity.
The APO initiative to assist the Royal Government of Cambodia in developing the National Productivity Master Plan envisions achieving average annual productivity growth of 5.2% during 2020–2030. Besides the quantitative target, the document includes five qualitative goals as part of the Cambodia Productivity 2030 Vision and defines strategic thrust areas to achieve those goals and objectives.
“We hope that the proposed Cambodia National Productivity Master Plan 2020–2030 will serve as a comprehensive plan for the country to embark on a productivity-driven growth strategy. The time frame of 2020–2030 was adopted to align the master plan with the government’s aim of making Cambodia an upper middle-income country by 2030,” the APO Secretary-General said while presenting the document to the minister.
Dr. Santhi stressed that to achieve holistic growth, governments needed align their national development agendas with contributing factors and create an environment that encouraged innovation, the use of technology, and conditions that enabled wealth creation as well as spurred demand.
Noting that it was important for Cambodia to adopt technology to improve infrastructure and advance automation, the Secretary-General said, “An environment for innovation and the adoption of modern technologies and processes will help increase total factor productivity significantly. The country may also need to open its market further to encourage competition. This will contribute to efficiency and improve quality. The changing needs of the market also mandate strengthening the education system to make the working population more adaptable to new job requirements.”
Dr. Santhi pointed out that Cambodia would need to convert productivity growth into inclusive development efforts under all agenda items, which could be achieved by boosting household income and ensuring equitable growth in corporate-sector earnings. The Secretary-General noted that increases in average wages and the number of SMEs were key to reaping the benefits of transformation. “They will also help boost demand through higher domestic consumption, savings, and investments that can be used to support the capital requirements of industry. Cambodia may also need to tap regional and global markets by enhancing global connectivity.”
In accepting the document, Senior Minister Prasidh thanked the APO for leading the initiative for the development of the Cambodia National Productivity Master Plan 2020–2030. “This is the most significant policy document that Cambodia has ever received from its development partner,” he said, adding that it was a very big contribution of the APO toward the development of the country. The minister said that the master plan had the potential to lay a stronger foundation for institutional arrangements for national productivity enhancement. He stated that the government would aim for adoption and implementation of the plan in mid-2019.
Delivering the welcome address, National Productivity Centre of Cambodia (NPCC) Director Heng Eang stated, “Productivity is essential to the success of an organization. An effective productivity plan addresses three main elements, including operational, tactical, and strategic planning.” He highlighted that the plan developed under the APO’s Strategic National Program (SNP) showed a clear picture of the productivity status and challenges with concise directions on where to go with a specific timeline. Director Eang also said that the NPCC would endeavor to overcome those challenges by leveraging SMEs and other sectors to contribute to the sustainable socioeconomic development of Cambodia.
The master plan is intended to boost Cambodia’s productivity by improving the policy framework, ensuring optimal mechanisms for the national productivity movement, and aligning efforts with long-term development goals. The consultancy project under the SNP of the APO was conducted in collaboration with the NPCC over a three-month period.