The knowledge and support technical assistance (TA) will support the Government of Cambodia in developing and implementing a one-stop shop model for service delivery using a digital platform that is integrated with other pertinent information systems, such as the national identification (ID) system. The TA will help improve the government's efficiency and effectiveness in delivering social assistance programs by mainstreaming digital technology in public administration. The TA will support operational priority 1 (addressing remaining poverty and reducing inequality) and operational priority 6 (strengthening governance and institutional capacity) of Strategy 2030 of the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The TA will also support ADB's Social Protection Operational Plan 2014-2020, which recognizes information and communication technology (ICT) as a potential sector for investment and knowledge work to strengthen social protection programs in ADB's developing member countries.
|Project Name||Supporting Digital Cambodia for Inclusive Development Project|
|Project Type / Modality of Assistance||Technical Assistance
|Source of Funding / Amount||
|Strategic Agendas||Inclusive economic growth
|Drivers of Change||Gender Equity and Mainstreaming
Governance and capacity development
Private sector development
|Sector / Subsector||
Public sector management / Social protection initiatives
|Gender Equity and Mainstreaming||Some gender elements|
|Description||The knowledge and support technical assistance (TA) will support the Government of Cambodia in developing and implementing a one-stop shop model for service delivery using a digital platform that is integrated with other pertinent information systems, such as the national identification (ID) system. The TA will help improve the government's efficiency and effectiveness in delivering social assistance programs by mainstreaming digital technology in public administration. The TA will support operational priority 1 (addressing remaining poverty and reducing inequality) and operational priority 6 (strengthening governance and institutional capacity) of Strategy 2030 of the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The TA will also support ADB's Social Protection Operational Plan 2014-2020, which recognizes information and communication technology (ICT) as a potential sector for investment and knowledge work to strengthen social protection programs in ADB's developing member countries. It is also emphasized in the country partnership strategy 2019-2023, and confirmed in the country operations business plan for 2021-2023.|
|Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy||
Vulnerabilities. During 2014-2019, Cambodia's gross domestic product grew by an annual average of 7.1%. The proportion of Cambodians living below the national poverty line fell from 47.8% in 2007 to 13.5% in 2014 and was projected to have fallen to 9.5% in 2019. However, many households remained close to the poverty line and the impacts from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic threaten to reverse this progress. ADB estimates that 570,000 workers will lose their jobs because of COVID-19, and that unemployment will increase from 0.7% to 4.4% in 2020. Poverty is also expected to increase as a result of reduced wage income, lower remittances, and the additional burden imposed by returning migrants. About 562,686 families vulnerable to the impacts of COVID-19 are being supported under a government cash-transfer program. It is expected that an additional 210,000 individuals will register in the IDPoor database by December 2020 due to increasing poverty.
Social protection system. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the government's social assistance programs covered less than 2.0% of the poorest quintile of the population. The government introduced a new Social Protection Policy Framework in 2017. The IDPoor poverty identification mechanism is an important part of this framework. It has been used to identify and register poor households since 2006 and is managed by the Ministry of Planning. The government has been implementing various social protection programs and is planning an expansion. However, many challenges threaten the delivery of social benefits, including limited coverage, weak targeting of beneficiaries, and inefficient management of social protection programs. Another challenge is the lack of effective measures to help vulnerable groups cope with shocks such as a pandemic, illness, and natural hazards, which undermines the inclusiveness of social and public services.
Digital transformation. The government aims to make Cambodia an ICT-driven upper middle-income country by 2030. Several ICT-related policies, such as the ICT Master Plan (2020), the Industrial Development Policy 2015-2025, the Law on e-Commerce (2019), and Consumer Protection Law (2019) are being implemented. The government is also preparing a long-term strategy for the digital economy for 2020-2035. Key barriers to achieving digital transformation in Cambodia are (i) gaps in supporting infrastructure; (ii) weak governance and institutional capacity to implement the digital transformation; and (iii) limited awareness and knowledge of, and human capacity for, digital technology.
While Cambodia's potential to improve delivery of social protection programs through digital technology is large, it has no universal and easily verifiable identification mechanism that every resident could use to access public and social services. To rectify this, the National Social Protection Council (NSPC) plans to develop an integrated ICT-based service delivery system in support of the various social protection programs. The digitalization is also driven by the need for more efficiency in administering the programs, such as minimizing transaction costs and more transparency in identifying and managing beneficiaries.
Response to COVID-19. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the development of social protection programs. The government prepared a comprehensive response to the pandemic covering health, social protection, and financial and economic recovery. The timely verification of beneficiaries in emergency situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic is a key challenge and is essential for effective and timely social protection response. Developing a digital platform with an integrated social beneficiary database that is linked to each individual's unique identification will be critical for targeting future support and minimizing leakages in emergency aid and follow-on programs. The digital platform proposed under the TA, which is integrated with other pertinent information systems such as the national ID system, will be a foundation for a comprehensive social service delivery mechanism.
E-government for subnational administrations. Improving the delivery of public and social services by using digital technologies will require broader strengthening of subnational e-government systems. Cambodia is implementing a comprehensive decentralization reform, which aims to empower subnational administrations (SNAs) and thereby lower the transaction costs of social service delivery. However, institutional capacity is still weak. The national government's plan to introduce e-government applications to subnational service delivery is as yet hampered by the lack of (i) a comprehensive strategy for digital government, (ii) sufficient human and institutional capacity, (iii) impactful e-government applications and services, (iv) adequate broadband internet connectivity, and (v) standardized business processes for digital government.
|Impact||An efficient and financially sustainable social protection system built by boosting human development and national economic growth (National Social Protection Framework, 2016-2025).|
|Description of Outcome||Efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability in delivery of selected public and social services in target districts improved.|
|Progress Toward Outcome|
|Description of Project Outputs||
Output 1: Integrated digital platform for social protection programs developed and implemented, and the capacity of the stakeholder agencies enhanced.
Output 2: Feasibility study on a scalable subnational e-government model conducted, and the capacity of the target SNAs enhanced.
|Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)|
|Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects|
|Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation|
|During Project Design|
|During Project Implementation|
Procure a consulting firm for the development of ICT platform (Q4 2021).
Procure a consulting firm for the feasibility study on standardized e-government systems
|Responsible ADB Officer||Ouch, Chamroen|
|Responsible ADB Department||Southeast Asia Department|
|Responsible ADB Division||Cambodia Resident Mission|
|Concept Clearance||22 May 2020|
|Fact Finding||22 Jun 2020 to 30 Jun 2020|
|Approval||15 Dec 2020|
|Last Review Mission||-|
|Last PDS Update||15 Dec 2020|
|Financing Plan/TA Utilization||Cumulative Disbursements|
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|Title||Document Type||Document Date|
|Supporting Digital Cambodia for Inclusive Development Project: Technical Assistance Report||Technical Assistance Reports||Dec 2020|
Safeguard Documents See also: Safeguards
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Evaluation Documents See also: Independent Evaluation
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|Tender Title||Type||Status||Posting Date||Deadline|
|Feasibility Study on the Standardized e-Government System for Subnational Administrations in Cambodia||Firm - Consulting||Closed||03 Sep 2020||17 Sep 2020|
|Integrated IT Platform for Social Protection Programs in Cambodia||Firm - Consulting||Closed||03 Sep 2020||17 Sep 2020|
|Communication and Coordination Specialist||Individual - Consulting||Closed||29 Jan 2021||04 Feb 2021|
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