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Small Business Meeting Calls for More Action

Regional Small Business Meeting Calls for More Action

The region's private sector stakeholders have called for more concerted efforts to advance Small, Medium and Micro-Enterprise (SMME) development across the Pacific.

The plea was to Governments, regional organisations and development partners, in partnership with the private sector, to turn high-level mandates and recommendations pertaining to SMME development into action.

This was highlighted at the recent Regional SMME Forum, attended in Samoa by over 130 representatives from throughout the region, including SMME practitioners and senior officials from Governments, trade promotion agencies and development partners.

The meeting was organised by the Pacific Islands Private Sector Organisation (PIPSO) in partnership with the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS), the Government of Samoa and the Samoa Chamber of Commerce, with funding support from the ACP Business Climate Facility (BizClim) in Brussels.

Mr James Movick, Chair of PIPSO, highlighted that the participants reiterated their concerns on long standing issues such as unfriendly policy environments, weak infrastructure facilities particularly in relation to air, land and sea transportation, poor access to finance especially at the business start-up phase and the lack of in-country institutional capacity to support SMME development.

"It was generally agreed that these issues could be addressed effectively through a shared commitment to foster SMME growth through public/private dialogue and partnerships, which was consistent with the theme of the meeting, Building Opportunities Together", Mr Movick said.

To enhance the delivery of services to SMMEs and the entire private sector through each island country's National Private Sector Organisation (NPSO), development partners were urged to support the strengthening of the interim PIPSO Secretariat that is based in Suva as well as of the national private sector organisations in each Pacific Islands Country.

"The Secretariat obviously needs technical and funding resources that would support programmes designed at benefitting the region's private sector, including SMMEs and informal producers," said Mr Movick.

"We would like to ensure that there is appropriate capacity, improved access to and wider usage of communications to boost regional-level dialogue processes that would guide policy makers and key partners in helping to bring about tangible benefits to those who are trying to generate income and make a decent living from entrepreneurship and related enterprising ventures".

Mr Movick added that opportunities for networking, sharing of experiences as well as business matchmaking during the SMME Forum were widely appreciated by the participants.

He also acknowledged the assistance of the European Union through BizClim in providing funding resources for the meeting as well as the presence of numerous development partners that have a direct interest in regional SMME development.

A draft policy statement that was discussed at the end of the meeting to guide regional efforts in SMME development in the Pacific is expected to be finalised within the next week.


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