TUESDAY, 15 DECEMBER, 13:30-15:00
Ms Arancha González, Executive Director, ITC
H.E. Mr. François Kanimba, Minister of Trade and Industry, Rwanda
Ms Marion Jansen, Chief Economist, ITC
Mr Francisco Estrazulas, ConnectAmericas Project Manager, IDB
Mr Twum-Akwaboah, CEO of Ghana Industry Association
Ms Kanini Mutooni, Director of Investment, USAID's East Africa Trade & Investment Hub
Mr Andrew Mutuma, President of DHL Express in Kenya
Ms Amani Asfour, Chairperson, COMESA Business Council
Ms Sneha Shah, Managing Director, Africa, Thomson Reuters
1330-1340 Welcome and opening remarks, Ms Arancha González, Executive Director, ITC
1340-1350 Keynote Statement, H.E. Mr. François Kanimba, Minister of Trade and Industry, Rwanda
1350-1400 SME Competitiveness Outlook, Ms Marion Jansen, Chief Economist, ITC
1400-1410 ConnectAmericas, Mr Francisco Estrazulas, ConnectAmericas Project Manager, IDB
1410-1500 Panel Q&A
Watch the event here.
The increased integration of developing countries into the global trading system continues to transform the trade landscape. The logic of such integration is that firms can no longer just rely on being competitive in the domestic, or even regional, market to ensure their long-term survival. Rather is through internationalising and being competitive within an international context that Small and Medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can become more sustainable and contribute to growth and job creation. SMEs account for anywhere between 60-90% of global employment, and the majority of new job creation, in most developing countries. However, SMEs suffer from high failure rates and low productivity. Evidence has shown that supporting the sustainability and growth of SMEs is an important policy component of employment, social cohesion and more inclusive growth.
These issues are highlighted in the 2015 ITC “SME Competitiveness Outlook - Connect, Compete, Change for Inclusive Growth”. The report complements macro-level trade development publications with its new SME Competitiveness Grid and based on three competitiveness pillars – to connect, compete and change – the Grid makes it easier to spot the strengths and weaknesses of enterprises. Addressing the productivity gap is crucial for inclusive growth, and in order to increase productivity firms must connect, compete and change.
These recommendations are in line with the tools proposed by ConnectAmericas, a non-profit initiative spearheaded by the IDB in order to support the SMEs of Latin America and the Caribbean. ConnectAmericas offers members access to potential clients, suppliers, partners and investors throughout the region and around the world.
SME Competitiveness Outlook
The SME Competitiveness Outlook is ITC's flagship report, published annually since 2015. Each report provides an in-depth analysis on a particular topic related to the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) - from their contribution to inclusive growth to their participation in regional value chains. The reports combine data analysis, academic insights, thought leader opinions, and case studies to provide guidance for policymakers, business managers, and trade and investment support institutions.