Post-COVID-19 resurgence of MSMEs and competition policy - ESCWA
1-3 December 2021
Forum

Post-COVID-19 resurgence of MSMEs and competition policy

Location
  • Online
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The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, in close partnership with ESCWA and other regional commissions, the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, is hosting a global policy dialogue on micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs)

The dialogue is an interactive discussion between representatives and officials of government MSME bodies, competition agency representatives, and scholars from various parts of the world, providing the opportunity to gain insight and share knowledge and experiences that will shape competition policies supporting the resurgence and growth of MSMEs.

Discussions cover:

  • The impact of competition policy on the digitalization of MSMEs in the wake of COVID-19;
  • Access to finance and government support in times of COVID-19;
  • Interagency coordination between MSME agencies and competition authorities.

Outcome document

In the three-day policy dialogue, the experiences shared stressed the importance of building resilient institutions and offering better policies to support the resurgence of the economy, after COVID-19.

Competition authorities and MSMEs development agencies have a huge role to play in ensuring that the local and global economy have the necessary mechanisms in the recovery phase, such as ensuring that MSMEs have easy access to finance and benefit from government support, as well as guaranteeing fair competition. New opportunities for growth post-covid-19 were also discussed, such as the prospects of digitalizing for many MSMEs and governments in building more efficient and resilient solutions. 

During the last day, the role of inter-agency cooperation was emphasized. The experiences shared showed that transparency and access to information, as well as facilitating cooperation and coordination between agencies through the improvement of communication channels, could help build more effective responses and policies that are better fitted to the needs of the economy, and especially to the ones of MSMEs. 

Representatives of the ITC and ECLAC presented findings on the need for competition policy to unlock the benefits of digitalization in support of MSMEs. Furthermore, ECLAC, along with representatives of SMEs bodies from other regions, shared their experience of MSMEs and digitalization.

The session ended with a dialogue between competition and MSMEs officials on strategies for post-crisis for MSMEs and digital trade, where best practices and lessons were shared.

The second day of the forum started with the presentations of ESCAP on the regional challenges in accessing finance and government support in Asia and

Pacific countries followed by ESCWA’s presentation on the economic impact of COVID-19 on Arab MSMEs, as well as mitigation measures.

Government representatives from other member states, including India, Jordan, and Armenia shared their experience on government support for MSMEs access to finance.

Finally, the dialogue was open for SME officials and competition authorities to share experiences and best practices on the topic of government support to MSMEs in times of COVID.

The last day of the Global Policy Dialogue focused on the topic of inter-agency cooperation between MSME agencies and competition authorities. ESCWA shared a presentation on competition regulatory reforms for strengthening the resilience of MSMEs, and ESCAP presented findings on the role of competition policy in creating an enabling environment for MSMEs in the ASEAN Region. Other presentations included those of competition authorities from India, Thailand, and the Caribbean.

The last dialogue of the forum allowed experts to share concrete experiences on interagency cooperation and the strategies for post-crisis recovery, especially for MSMEs.

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