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Cambodia Lacks Skills in Face of Asean Integration, Expert Says

Asean Community Faces Challenges, Expert Says
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Asean Community Faces Challenges, Expert Says

Asean integration at the end of 2015 will give Cambodia opportunities, but it will also mean economic competition that the country must be ready for, an analyst says.

Chheang Vannarith, a lecturer at the University of Leeds, told VOA Khmer in a TV studio interview that Cambodia will be competing at a regional level, with an increased market of 600 million people—but also entrepreneurs from around Southeast Asia.

“Cambodian entrepreneurs are not ready to effectively compete, since there is a lack of human resources, information and, in particular, capital for investment to improve goods and productivity,” he said. “Another challenge is that the Cambodian education system has not yet created the human resources that would have the full capacity to compete with a regional market.”

Asean countries, including Cambodia, are reforming their development and tax policies to conform with a regional norm.

But success in Asean means having skilled laborers, along with knowledge in hard skills, like engineering, accounting, medicine, land surveying and science. It also requires “soft skills,” such as leadership and fluency in English and other languages, he said. “That’s what we lack.”