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Plans for Sihanoukville to Become ‘Smart City’ of the Future

FILE-A Cambodian woman gives massage to a tourist on the beach of Sihanoukville, some 185 kilometers (115 miles) southwest of Phnom Penh, Cambodia, file photo. (AP Photo/Heng Sinith)

South Korea is set to help Cambodia develop its metropolitan areas into so-called smart cities.

South Korea is set to help Cambodia develop its metropolitan areas into so-called smart cities.

Chea Sophara, minister of land management, urban planning and construction, said on Monday that he was due to sign an agreement with his South Korean counterpart this week during a diplomatic visit to the country.

Under the agreement, South Korea will provide Cambodia with technical support to develop its cities more sustainable, he said.

“The idea of Smart Cities is to organize [the city into zones], such as an agricultural zone, farms, hospitals, schools … to make the city livable. That’s how we organize it to make it look more scientific, not just develop it without guaranteeing sustainability in that development,” he said.

Sophara did not give a date when the plan will begin, but said it would last for three years, beginning in Preah Sihanouk province before expanding to the capital and then other provinces.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency on Monday quoted an official as saying that “South Korea’s experience in using ICT to resolve urban area problems will help Cambodia's efforts to deal with reckless development near Sihanoukville.”

Yong Kim Eng, president of the NGO People Center for Development and Peace, said the work would be crucial to the future development of Cambodia’s cities.

“[Cambodia] must have experts and technical officials as well. [They] have to work with South Korean [experts] or else when they [the Korean experts] are gone, the project will not work. This is a very important issue that concerns me, because we can see that in the past, the government also committed to ‘e-government’, but later on the e-government plan did not work,” he said.