22 July 2020 – Jointly organized by the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) and the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) of the United Nations, the webinar brought together policymakers, researchers and entrepreneurs from developing countries to share their first-hand experiences on helping SMEs respond to the global crisis.
The COVID-19 pandemic not only presents an alarming health crisis but also brings significant disruption to global economies and great challenges to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). In fact, SMEs have to be among the top priorities in the response to the crisis in many countries, particularly the lower-income countries in the developing world, where formal SMEs contribute up to 40% of national income (GDP) and 70% of employment. According to the World Bank, these numbers are significantly higher when informal SMEs are also included. Helping SMEs respond and recover better will also contribute to poverty alleviation in the Global South, as jobs offered by SMEs often directly benefit the poor and vulnerable, such as women and youth.
The webinar aimed to:
- Discuss the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic to SMEs in the developing countries;
- Highlight what countries are doing, both in the short term and long term, to minimize the impact on SMEs and help them recover;
- Provide an outlook of how countries can work together through South-South and Triangular cooperation on boosting SMEs development in the post-pandemic period.
The following is the detail of the speakers.
- Dr. Denis Nkala, Regional Coordinator, Regional Office for Asia-Pacific, UNOSSC
- Mr. Jorge Chediek, UNOSSC Director and Envoy of the Secretary-General on South-South Cooperation
- Dr. Mia Mikic, Director, Trade, Investment and Innovation Division United Nations ESCAP
- Dr. Jomo K.S., Malaysian Economist- Keynote: Economic and business impact of COVID-19 in the Asia Pacific
- Dr. Marion Jansen, Director of the Division for Market Development and Chief Economist at the International Trade Centre – SME Competitiveness Report — COVID 19 impact on SMEs
- Ms. Xiaoyue Wang, Transfer Pricing Practice Leader, KPMG in China – Tax incentives for SMEs in response to COVID-19 in China
- Ms. Sara Elder, Head, Regional Economic & Social Analysis Unit ILO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific – How to use technology to boost transition from informal to formal enterprises and workers
- Dr. Wimonkan Kosumas, Deputy Director-General, The Office of Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion of Thailand – Supporting SMEs in response to COVID-19 in Thailand
- Ms. Barbara Meynert, Member of the Executive Committee of the UN ESCAP Sustainable Business Network – Business and Government together to help SMEs