Pres­i­dent urges ASEAN to invest in small business

Mizzima Business Weekly - - BUSINESS // NEWS -

Pres­i­dent U Thein Sein used the ASEAN Business and In­vest­ment Sum­mit to call on his fel­low ASEAN lead­ers to em­pha­sise the de­vel­op­ment of small and medium en­ter­prise to nar­row de­vel­op­ment gaps and al­le­vi­ate poverty in their coun­tries.

“In spite of the favourable econ­omy in ASEAN coun­tries, we [ASEAN mem­bers] still face chal­lenges. Ef­forts for poverty alle­vi­a­tion and nar­row­ing the de­vel­op­ment gap be­tween the ASEAN mem­ber states re­main is­sues that need spe­cial at­ten­tion,” said U Thein Sein in his open­ing ad­dress to the sum­mit in Nay Pyi Taw on Novem­ber 11.

SMEs played an im­por­tant role in the ASEAN com­mu­nity by en­hanc­ing the so­cio-eco­nomic cir­cum­stances of the peo­ple and bal­anc­ing eco­nomic growth in the re­gion, the Pres­i­dent said. “In­creased job op­por­tu­ni­ties and in­come gen­er­a­tion would con­trib­ute to­wards broad­en­ing eq­ui­table eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and nar­row­ing the de­vel­op­ment gap in the re­gion.”

U Thein Sein said this was the ra­tio­nale be­hind the decision by the ASEAN Business Ad­vi­sory Coun­cil to make in­creas­ing the mar­ket com­pet­i­tive­ness of mi­cro, small and medium en­ter­prises one of its pri­orir­i­ties for 2014.

“We are con­sid­er­ing how to en­hance the roles of young en­trepreneur­s and women in SMEs as well as the de­vel­op­ment of tech­nol­ogy and vo­ca­tional ed­u­ca­tion for other work­ers and farm­ers,” he said.

The Pres­i­dent ac­knowl­edged that ef­forts to nar­row the de­vel­op­ment gap by Cam­bo­dia, Laos, Myan­mar, and Viet­nam had seen pos­i­tive progress be­cause of their man­u­fac­tur­ing, trade, in­vest­ment and ser­vice sec­tors. The to­tal ex­ter­nal trade of th­ese coun­tries reached US$312 bil­lion in 2013, an in­crease of 15.2 per­cent on 2012, he said.

As a com­bined eco­nomic area, ASEAN has a gross do­mes­tic prod­uct of US$2.5 tril­lion and is the sev­enth largest econ­omy in the world. [Ko Ko Gyi ]

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