Do Cambodians Trust E-Government Services? A Survey

Sereyvisith Sokhan , Chandary Raing , Channara Rin

Lack of user trust is a major reason why e-government projects fail. To align efforts for the successful implementation of e-government in Cambodia, the government focuses on platform development, integration between government agencies and other technical considerations. However, there is no proper discussion about how to enhance citizen trust in e-government services. This study explores user perceptions and trust around e-government in Cambodia by surveying 256 participants recruited through online platforms. The result of this study indicates that among well-educated and regular internet users in Cambodia, the knowledge of e-government is significantly low and that most are still neutral about whether it can be trusted or not. We have suggested several methods and approaches the government could consider in order to boost citizens’ knowledge and trust, which in turn could potentially influence user adoption of e-government.


Cambodia doesn't have a unified national government portal but approximately 60 separate websites, each built independently without reference to any standards for user interface, look-and-feel, development approach, technical platform or security. The current state of digital government of Cambodia is largely fragmented, with a few online services available to citizens and businesses, for example, the online business registration at the Ministry of Ecommerce and the e-Visa platform for visitors. Both systems allow users to complete the entire process online, including payment. Besides lacking standardization, Cambodia’s framework for e-transactions is incomplete, which also hurts consumer trust in digital services.

There are many factors that influence user adoption of e-government[3] and their intention to use them, such as perceived risk, perceived control, internet connectivity, perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use and service quality which lead to user satisfaction. However, numerous studies show that lack of user trust is the main factor that causes failure in many e-government projects. For instance, a study focused on developing a fully functional e-government using a four-stage model shows that privacy and confidentiality issues and citizen-focused change must be considered throughout e-government development. The citizen’s concern on privacy and confidentiality is considered a critical obstacle to realizing e-government. Another study investigating the acceptance of e-democracy from a developing nation’s perspective reveals that lack of trust in government to fulfill its promises may limit citizens’ e-democracy adoption.[5] Similarly, a recent study on e-participation on an e-government website in Saudi Arabia shows that user trust can positively affect the user intention to use e-government.

Since 2000, Cambodia has been embracing the adoption of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) as an enabler of its administrative reform efforts by forming the National ICT Development Authority (NiDA). Many policy documents related to digital development have been issued since, and the Cambodia ICT master plan for 2020 called "ICTopia Cambodia" was introduced. It consists of four pillars: Empowering People, Ensuring Connectivity, Enhancing Capabilities, and Enriching e-services. The objective of ICTopia is to build Cambodia as a nation with intelligent people, intelligent society and intelligent government by ICT.[7] To align efforts towards successful implementation of e-government