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Cambodia and Indonesia explore STI, MSME tie-ups

Minister of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation Hem Vanndy (R) holds talks with Indonesian Ambassador Santo Darmosumarto at the Ministry on Tuesday.

Cambodia and Indonesia have been exploring potential collaboration in science, technology, innovation (STI), and support for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

On Tuesday, Hem Vanndy, Minister of Industry, Science, Technology & Innovation (MISTI), received a delegation from the Indonesian Embassy led by Ambassador Santo Darmosumarto at the ministry office.

Vanndy lauded the longstanding bilateral cooperation between Cambodia and Indonesia and commended Indonesia’s participation in the 20th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Science, Technology, and Innovation (AMMSTI-20) held in Siem Reap last week, led by that country’s Chairman of the National Research and Innovation Agency.

Ambassador Darmosumarto, who has been in Cambodia for nine months, expressed his intention to formally introduce himself to MISTI and work toward enhancing the relationship between the two countries.

He outlined four main objectives for his tenure: enhancing bilateral cooperation, fostering people-to-people connections with a focus on youth and STI, promoting regional cooperation through ASEAN, and ensuring the protection of Indonesians working in Cambodia.

Praising Cambodia’s hosting of AMMSTI-20, the Ambassador noted the potential for further collaboration.

Cambodia successfully hosted the 20th ASEAN Ministerial Meeting on Science, Technology, and Innovation (AMMSTI-20), the 85th Meeting of the ASEAN Committee on Science, Technology, and Innovation (COSTI-85), and related meetings from June 3-7 in Siem Reap City, Siem Reap province.

These events aimed to strengthen regional collaboration, advance the implementation of the ASEAN Plan of Action on Science, Technology, and Innovation (APASTI) 2016-2025, and develop APASTI 2026-2035.

Ambassador Darmosumarto proposed signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) focusing on digital transformation and technology support for MSME development, vocational education for industry, and laboratory cooperation to ensure products meet market standards in both countries.

Vanndy expressed readiness to sign the MoU. He emphasised the vital contribution of MSMEs to Cambodia’s economy, highlighting the government’s launch of the National Strategy for Developing the Informal Economy to assist MSMEs in their formalisation, enabling them to access essential benefits like social protections and opportunities for capacity development.

The Kingdom has around 750,000 MSMEs compared to Indonesia’s 65 million, presenting a learning opportunity from Indonesia’s extensive experience.

In the field of STI, Vanndy highlighted Cambodia’s aspiration to leapfrog in technological advancements, citing that Cambodia and Indonesia are co-creators of the ASEAN Technology Transfer Hub, so there is room to collaborate in this area.

He said MISTI is also transforming its National Laboratory of Science, Technology, and Innovation into a public administration institution to better support the private sector.

Emphasising the importance of enhancing lab capacities in line with the 2025 ASEAN harmonised standards, Vanndy proposed the establishment of a laboratory alliance between Cambodian and Indonesian labs.

This initiative aims to facilitate mutual recognition of testing and lab results across ASEAN countries.

Responding to Indonesian interest in Cambodia’s startup ecosystem, Vanndy, who also chairs Khmer Enterprise’s Board of Trustees, mentioned the government’s efforts to develop the SME ecosystem and startups through initiatives like Khmer Enterprise, Decho Startup Center and other funding mechanisms.

Highlighting Indonesia as Cambodia’s sixth-largest trading partner, with trade volumes exceeding $1 billion in 2023, Vanndy encouraged Indonesian investors to consider investing and establish factories in Cambodia.



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