Currently more than 50 percent of electricity generated in Cambodia comes from hydropower, with coal contributing another 35-40 percent. Cambodia faces power shortages especially during the hot and dry season, when the country’s seven hydropower dams are unable to produce enough energy to due to the lack of rain.
In a bid to end the ongoing blackouts, the government is ramping up efforts to purchase power from neighbouring countries such as Thailand, Vietnam and Laos. In the longer term, they are also looking at various ways to diversify its energy sources and safeguard its energy security.
There are plans to rely more on solar and LNG solutions over the next few years. Following Singapore company Sunseap’s successful solar pilot project in Bavet City, the government invited private sector participation in the development of a national solar park in February 2019. Efforts are also ongoing to lower costs, improve reliability and increase coverage of the country’s power transmission and distribution network which presents more opportunities for the private sector as well.
As the country industrialises, the government is now focusing on reducing plastic waste, the collection and disposal of waste, and wastewater management in urban centres. The Ministry of Environment will be piloting waste-to-energy projects in cities such as Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. This is indeed a key issue, as there are currently only three waste water treatment plants in the whole of Cambodia, while in Phnom Penh alone, 3,000 tonnes of garbage are produced per day and only 30 percent of their sewage systems have optimal pumping stations.
With the mushrooming of small-scale projects, primarily involving the recycling and combustion of industrial waste as fuel, there are opportunities to set up facilities or provide equipment for organic, plastic and combustible waste.
In terms of physical connectivity, we are seeing a growth in the logistics and transport solutions sector, and expect demand to rise further. Cambodia recently finalised the Logistics Master Plan Development to resolve the country’s demand for greater logistical capacity. It focuses on the development of three main international border gates in Sihanoukville, Bavet and Poipet, which will facilitate greater connectivity and the import/export of 90 percent of Cambodia’s trade volume.
In addition to developments in physical connectivity, Cambodia is also shifting towards a more digitalised economy. Digital technology providers will find keen early adopters among local businesses and consumers. Cambodia’s digital infrastructure is growing – and rapidly, too. Over the past two decades, mobile operators have expanded their coverage to rural areas, with 57 percent of the population having access to 4G technology today. More individuals are moving towards e-commerce platforms and social media, which in turn generates opportunities for businesses as more consumers go online to purchase goods. The Cambodia Security Commission is also developing regulations to help ease the entry of tech firms into the market. This means opportunities for companies with unique digital solutions in fintech (digital payments, Peer-to-Peer lending), digital media and advertising, e-commerce, digital marketplaces and other development services.