Mr. Suriyan Vichitlekarn, Mekong Institute (MI) Executive Director, underscored the importance of supporting small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) due to their role in stabilizing economies at the international online training course on “Sufficiency Economy in Microfinance for SME Development.”
“When SMEs are actively engaged, this translates to robust production and commercial networks that create employment and wealth for countries,” he explained. “This is why we must work together in developing enabling policies and investing in capacity building initiatives so SMEs can thrive in a competitive business environment.”
Organized by MI, with support from the Thailand International Cooperation Agency (TICA), the training exposed 47 senior- and mid-level officials of academic institutions and the financial sector from Botswana, Brunei Darussalam, Costa Rica, Guyana, Indonesia, Iraq, Lao PDR, Maldives, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, Qatar, Sri Lanka, Suriname, Thailand, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Venezuela and Vietnam on the merits of adapting the “Sufficiency Economy Philosophy” (SEP) concept in microfinance and microcredit schemes to better support SMEs, particularly at the time of the prolonged pandemic climate.
Other than SEP, 14 international and national experts from the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council, Office of the Royal Development Projects Board, Community Development Department, Agricultural and Food Marketing Association for Asia and the Pacific, Asia Pacific Rural and Agricultural Credit Association, the Central Bank of Bangladesh, Lincoln University in New Zealand, the University of Dhaka, and MI provided sessions on microfinance for SME development; regulatory and government support for microfinance development; community-based microfinance; financial inclusion and poverty; rural community-based microfinance; and sustainability and depth of outreach.
Mr. Madhurjya Kumar Dutta, MI Director of Trade and Investment Facilitation, enjoined participants to translate the learnings from the 10-day sessions into action in their respective home countries.
“It is incumbent upon us to maintain this momentum of support,” he said, adding that when practical business strategies and approaches are disseminated to a broader audience, intra-regional trading activities will be re-activated for the benefit of all.
The online training, which ran from May 10 to 21, 2021, was the second international SEP training held by MI and TICA. The activity was part of TICA’s Annual International Training Course flagship program that was initiated in 1991 as a framework in providing short-term training for development partners, while facilitating a platform for the open exchange of ideas and network building among participants from across the world.