World Bank Lends $40m to Boost Skilled Labor 

Workers stand on a truck travelling along a street in Phnom Penh on June 7, 2023. Photo by TANG CHHIN Sothy / AFP

PHNOM PENH – The World Bank has approved a $40 million loan to enhance the skills and labor quality needed to boost Cambodia’s economy.

The loan, approved by the bank’s board of executive directors on May 23 and funded by International Development Association, targets 33,000 people who are expected to receive improved training and labor market services through the five-year Skills for Better Jobs Project.

The bank said that the credit aims to enhance the quality and relevance of job-related skills among the workforce and increase their employability and earnings. 

It also seeks to strengthen technical and vocational education and training, improve career guidance and job search support, and better engage employers when developing training programs.   

Maryam Salim, World Bank country manager, said upskilling the current and upcoming workforce will be key for Cambodia to attracting more and better foreign direct investment and responding to employer needs while the country is moving up value chains and diversify production.

“Technical skills training, when demand-responsive and supplemented with training in complementary skills, such as digital and behavioral skills, can support Cambodia in achieving its objectives,” she said.

The bank said that the country’s job quality is low and 89 percent of jobs are low skilled and a large share are informal despite the rapid economic growth. Macroeconomic stability, openness to trade, and preferential access to Western markets also helped the country attract overseas investment.

Cambodia’s growth is projected to be robust in 2024 with the World Bank and Asian Development Bank predicting 5.8 percent. 

ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO) assessed that  growth will reach 5.6 percent in 2024 due to the recovery in the garment sector, sustained expansion in other manufacturing exports, and the tourism rebound.

Cambodia has provided free skill and vocational training, targeting 1.5 million people from poor and vulnerable households. It offers training in 38 trades ranging from construction, electricity, electronics, mechanics to tourism, agriculture, agro-industry, business, information technology and services.

Related Articles