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Rapid Assessment of Cambodia’s Innovation Ecosystem

Cambodia requires a strong focus on innovation to catch up with its neighbors. It has to make concerted efforts to establish suitable framework conditions to transition to a knowledge-based economy. Despite the country’s rapid economic growth, it invested little in research and development (R&D) and ranked fairly low in the World Bank’s Knowledge Economy Index. Additionally, Cambodia ranked 98th in the overall Global Innovation Index, lagging in most input indicators and performing weakly in the output indicators. For this reason, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) invited Tambourine Innovation Ventures (TIV) to support the drafting of Cambodia’s new Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) policy.

TIV’s major contribution was a proprietary analysis of the current technology trajectory of Cambodia in its report, “Rapid Assessment of Cambodia’s Innovation Ecosystem.” The report was done to actualize the Kingdom of Cambodia's goals in its 2014-2020 Science & Technology plan. The expert analysis featured a survey of Cambodia’s innovation framework, detailing its current strengths and weaknesses. Then, we elaborated on the necessary conditions that must be in place for sustainable growth, including advocation for linkage between knowledge-producing bodies and the private sector and improving the existing ICT infrastructure in Cambodia. The assessment incorporated feedback from interviews with 15 key stakeholders from the highest echelons of government and global finance, including the World Bank, Cambodia’s Ministry of Finance, and Cambodia’s Development and Research Institute (CDRI). The report also investigated how STI can contribute to sustainable and inclusive development and how STI fosters social development and environmental sustainability.

The engagement included a Workshop on the Draft of Cambodia’s Science, Technology, and Innovation (STI) Policy, in which TIV’s Mr. Gupta was a distinguished speaker. The event was hosted by the General Secretariat of Cambodia's National Science and Technology Council. The constituent audience comprised Asia and the Pacific’s highest leaders in innovation, science, and technology and global experts from academia and industry.

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