Beirut, 04 September 2019 (ESCWA)-- Arab experts and government officials gathered at the UN House in Beirut today to discuss a web-based platform that ESCWA is designing to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs), given their significant role in economic growth. The consultative meeting identified the key functionalities and content of the platform, dubbed SMEs Digital Enablers Portal.
In his opening statement, ESCWA Deputy Executive Secretary, Mounir Tabet, highlighted the urgent need to leverage innovation in SMEs to create job opportunities for young people, who constitute a wealth of energy and education in the Arab region. “The platform under discussion aims to transfer successful experiences among countries and provide solutions to young people who are planning to establish SMEs”, he added.
The four pillars envisaged by ESCWA for the Portal are: information about business development and markets, laws and legislation, funding sources, and learning and development.
The Director of the SMEs Center at the Arab Planning Institute in Kuwait, Mr. Ihab Magableh, presented the Institute’s 2019 report on "SMEs in Arab Economies: A new role to enhance Sustainable Development”. He called for “unleashing Arab minds” to empower young people and revive the economy.
Participants from different Arab SME development programs and institutions presented their experiences, highlighting challenges and success stories.
All concurred on the high added value of the regional SMEs Digital Enablers Portal. They agreed to serve as national focal points whose task will be to continuously feed and update the Portal with data and information.
Participants also agreed on the establishment of a regional committee led by ESCWA with the support of UNIDO, in cooperation with regional NGOs such as the Association of Arab Chambers of Commerce (UAC), to manage the Portal, which will be launched by ESCWA in March 2020.
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