Mekong Institute (MI) organized the final Project Steering Committee (PSC) meeting on “Enhancing Competitiveness of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the Southern Economic Corridor (SEC) of ASEAN Mekong Subregion (AMS)” on June 18, 2018. Serving as the last leg of the said project, results of the final project evaluation, as well as ideas for the next phase of the project were presented and discussed.
The meeting was attended by delegates from 10 organizations representing the PSC. The organizations included the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), as well as concerned ministries and business associations (BAs) in Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam (CMTV). The meeting sought to provide PSC members with the project outputs, outcomes, experiences, best practices, challenges, lessons learned and recommendations.
Results of the final project evaluation revealed that MI’s human resource development program is effective in developing managerial capabilities of individual enterprises, cooperatives, and entrepreneurs. Also, the need for human resource development program is high in CMTV, especially among entrepreneurs in Cambodia and Myanmar where they encounter multi-faceted challenges including scarce financial resources and underdeveloped rural infrastructure.
Taking into account the results of the two-year project, the delegates discussed ideas for the next phase of the project and provided significant inputs. The subsequent phase will focus on promoting regional economic integration in ASEAN through enhancing SME competitiveness. Especially, the project will focus on the promotion of Intra-ASEAN trade by addressing non-tariff measures (NTMs) and promoting business and institutional linkages among SMEs and BDS providers in ASEAN countries.
The project on “Enhancing Competiveness of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the Southern Economic Corridor (SEC) of ASEAN Mekong Subregion (AMS)” was funded by the Government of Japan through Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF), and was implemented by MI during 2016-2018. The project was implemented in collaboration with the national and sub-national stakeholders in the four project countries along the SEC, namely Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam. The project supported the capacity building of target SME clusters and BDS providers in 19 provinces along the SEC in CMTV.