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December 2019. Fourth Industrial Revolution 4.0:

Where does Cambodia stand at this juncture of the Global Industrial Revolution, Digital Economy and the Fourth Industrial Revolution 4.0?

According to INSEAD Global Talent Competitiveness Index 2018, out of 119 countries, Cambodia ranked 108 overall. It also ranked 111 for talent growth which includes aspects like formal education, and quality of management schools. It ranked 103 for retaining talent which includes aspects like brain retention; it ranked 113 for vocational and technical skills; and 113 for global knowledge skills. (Cambodia’s failing education system, Sheith Khidhir 1 May 2019).


In the 21st Century, a country like Singapore and among others embrace digital government and building Smart Nation.

In four decades, how will Cambodia be categorized? Developing country to under-developed country? Is there a nation that exempts from social and economic globalization and geo-politics? In terms of political culture, Cambodia is beyond complex but it is not theoretically impossible to reverse the traditional mindsets and addresses the change-resistant.

The Rectangular Strategy for Growth, Employment, Equity and Efficiency, Under (Side 2. Technical Training, Page 22), and National Policy Framework on Education, Technical and Vocational Training 2017-2025 (Page, 23), addressed Education, Technical and Vocational Training Skills. Does the current educational framework address the Fourth Industrial Revolution 4.0?

What does Cambodia need to do to achieve this end? The question that remains unanswered is this:

What then happens to these high-skilled Cambodians? If underemployment is a problem that Cambodia is facing, then upgrading skills does not solve this problem. Instead, Cambodia must focus on creating job opportunities that will allow these future high-skilled workers to work within their borders (The Asian Post, November 27, 2019).


According to the INSEAD 2019 Global Talent Competitiveness Index, Cambodia was placed 107th out of 125 countries.

A more in-depth look at Cambodia’s score reveals even more. Of four factors (enable, attract, grow, retain), Cambodia scored the lowest for its ability to “grow” talent at 119 compared to 90 for “enable”, 83 for “attract”, and 99 for “retain”.

If Cambodia wants to be part of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, it must nurture its youth and help them become highly skilled workers.

There are differences in socialist transitional countries like Cambodia. There are Post-WW II war-ruined nations like France, Germany, Italy and Japan, and Post Vietnam-Era like Korea Cambodia and Vietnam. Singapore and Thailand are two nations in somewhat difference situation in comparison to political culture and foreign influences imposed on them.

What does it take Singapore to archive all this in a relatively in about the same as other countries were being colonized by the French and the British?

Singapore, a nation of about 6 million. Its domestic policy is relatively stable politically and its government is lean and efficiently manage. Its socio-economic is among the highest in Asia.

In the research sphere. China becomes China today simple because its domestic development policy focuses on the light-skilled industry along with favorable foreign and domestic policies like trade, education in science and technology. Cambodia has more language schools than any county, possibly in the world.

To date, the government could be the biggest (public) employer beside the (private) garment factory. Should Cambodia adopt a “lean government” approach? What does it take to archive it? #TIC101

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