Source: Vientiane Times
The Department of SME Promotion, under the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, will collaborate with German GIZ to implement an Asean-German project. The project will focus on Promotion of Strengthening Regional Structures for Small and Medium Enterprise Promotion in Asean.
The project aims to improve SMEs within the framework of the Asean Strategic Action Plan for SME development-2025.
The meet was held on Friday in Vientiane and attended by representatives from relevant government agencies and departments under the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Lao National Chamber Commerce and Industry, Ministry of Post and Telecommunication, and the private sector. The meet was briefed on the project, issues discussed and priorities identified for the project workplan in Laos for the next two years.
The project mainly supports facilitating public and private dialogue and cooperation to address issues and challenges due to lack of awareness and limited information flow on how to enter and tap into markets within and outside of the region.
This is the core challenge faced by SMEs in the Asean region. Not knowing international requirements and standards often prevents SMEs from linking up with regional or global value chains, thus hampering their growth and expansion. Improving the access to relevant information and networks, along with targeted capacity building programmes aimed at internationalisation, can, therefore, play a critical role in enhancing their market access, both from a regional as well as an international perspective.
Acknowledging the importance of SMEs for most of the economies in Asean, the Asean Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint-2025 and the corresponding Strategic Action Plan for SME Development (SAPSMED)-2025 puts a special emphasis on promoting SMEs. The SAPSMED outlines key initiatives and deliverables to raise the level of competitiveness and resilience of SMEs, as well as to enable them to reap the benefits arising from regional integration in Asean.
Mr Bountheung Douangnsavanh, the Director-General of Department of SME Promotion said, “The Ministry of Commerce and Industry, especially the Department of SME Promotion, has been working to support the capability of SMEs in Laos, such as improving access to information on markets and finances and SME innovation. However, to achieve this collaborative effort by stakeholders, especially the private sector, it is necessary to move forward together.”
Similar to Laos, many countries in Asean have been working to increase competitiveness and to promote the internationalisation of SMEs in their respective countries. As SMEs are the backbone of the economy and make-up for most of the businesses in the Asean region, their success would mean increased job opportunities and trading (export) beyond borders.
Ms Christina Seeberg, the Head of Cooperation, German Embassy in Vientiane said, “The German government through the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) has been supporting countries in Asean in its regional economic and cooperation efforts, and sustainable and socio-economic development and employment.”
Commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Asean SME project has been initiated to support Asean particularly, Cambodia, the Lao PDR, Myanmar, Vietnam (CLMV) and Indonesia.
The project will support the implementation of the Strategic Action Plan for Small and Medium Enterprise Development (SAPSMED 2025), with dual focus on improving the market access and internationalisation, as well as enhancing the policy and regulatory environment for SMEs in Asean.
In-line with SAPSMED 2025, the project intends to raise the level of competitiveness and resilience of SMEs to reap benefits arising from regional integration of Asean.
The project is implemented by Deutsche Gesellschaft Für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in collaboration with Asean Member States. The first phase of the project will end in 2022, with a possibility of an extension to 2025.