Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Proposed New Strategy for Japan’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) to Cambodia: Human Resource Development

Photos of field trip by Young Leader Programme (YLP) students and their Japanese professor in Japan 

While economic infrastructure development is still vital for economic progress in Cambodia, its process of development study and construction projects can take several years to be completed. For example, the development study of the Second Mekong Bridge in the Eastern part of Cambodia took five years (2004-2009). Until now, the construction project of this bridge has not started yet. Therefore, human resource development should be promoted as the top development agenda of the Government and it should deserve more attention and support from Japan’s ODA policies. In this new century, Japan should allocate more grant aids for human resource development projects. If Cambodia has enough human resource, its self-help effort for socio-economic development will be easily achieve in the same way as other countries in ASEAN such as Singapore and Vietnam. Furthermore, human resource development can contribute to higher productivity and higher per capita Gross National Income (GNI). The accumulation of human capital and capital stock of a country would enable it expand and diversify its industrial base into a technological and capital-based industry, contributing to rapid economic growth and poverty reduction.

Since Cambodia achieves full peace and stability and a robust economic growth, I think it is time that human resource development is the top priority in the new strategy for Japan’s ODA to Cambodia. The number of Scholarships to study in Japan should be increased for Cambodians, especially those who live in the rural areas which has suffered high rate of poverty and poor socio-economic infrastructure. The field of study in Japanese scholarship is also a critical factor contributing to the development of Cambodia. Especially, the field of public policy and ICT would be useful for Cambodia’s administrative and economic reform and capacity building and the development of a reliable database and computerized network for public service. For example, the establishment of National Information Communication Technology Development Authority (NIDA) with the technical assistance from South Korea has enabled a quick access to useful statistics and public data and also improve computerized civil service in Cambodia.  

Peace-building efforts in Cambodia will be promoted through human resource development by providing better opportunity for young generation in education and labor market. The more people get educated, the more they contribute to economic development and consolidation of democracy in Cambodia which is still facing with many challenges such as corruption, weak rule of law, clientelism and partisanism. Especially, poverty in the rural and remote areas in Cambodia is very high and this major social problem could be exploited by opportunistic politicians and illegal armed groups by motivating unemployed youth to join their movement and provoke social instability. So, human resource development and vocational training play an important role to replace “lack of opportunity” with full of opportunity for Cambodians in education and labor market.  

Therefore, I strongly argue that, in this new decade of the 21st century, Japanese ODA, especially grant aids, should be concentrated on human resource development in Cambodia by providing more human resource development scholarship for Cambodian students to study in all area of development in Japan since human capital is the vital element in promoting socio-economic development and democracy for Cambodia in the 21st century. Cambodia’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) on Education by 2015 will be further promoted if Japan contributes more to human resource development in Cambodia by increasing the number of scholarships for Cambodian students to study in Japan and establishing more vocational training centers in Cambodia.

Other articles on Cambodia: 

    (5 March 2014)

    (17 October 2011)

    (03 October 2011)

    (12 September 2011)

6. Review of Cambodia's Economy and Finance (up to 2011)
    (31 August 2011)

     (22 August 2011)

    (17 August 2011)

    (17 August 2011)

    (16 August 2011)

      (15 August 2011)

      (15 August 2011)

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