Laos targeting MSME promotion through digitalisation

(Seated from left) Minister of Industry and Commerce, Mrs Khemmani Pholsena, Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, Dr Thansamay Kommasith, and Executive Vice President of LNCCI, Mr Daovone Phachanthavong, attend the International MSME Day yesterday

The Lao government is determined to encourage and promote digitalisation in micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to help the nation achieve its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030. According to the government, the promotion of micro, small and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs) is already on the national agenda, with an intense focus to make them more competitive domestically and internationally. This year, Laos celebrated the second International MSME Day under the collaboration of the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Ministry of Posts, Telecom and Communications and the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI). The objective was to highlight the role of International MSME Day in the implementation of SDGs, especially for the digitalisation of MSMEs. This enabled participants to understand how micro, small and medium-sized enterprises are essential for the nation’s economic development.

In his keynote address, Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, Dr Thansamay Kommasith, said the ministry was willing to be a part of the MSMEs’ promotion by building the necessary infrastructure in ICT fields. “Embracing digitalisation for MSMEs is one of the key factors for the government to boost the growth of the Lao economy and the use of technology infrastructure is necessary for the development of the business sector,” he said. He also called for practical cooperation with other ministries to ensure the digitalisation of MSMEs is in line with the government’s policy, and to make the engagement fruitful for the future.

Many Asean countries have successfully promoted MSME competitiveness for sustainability and upscaling through domestic cooperation between the ministries in charge of various aspects of policy planning, financial access, market access, data and statistics. Meanwhile, the inclusion of education, standardisation and certification of products and services, as well as the addition of youth, women and the creative industry in the process, are vital partners in this development. Last year was the first year for Laos to mark the International MSME Day under the aegis of the United Nations on the theme - ‘The Youth Dimension.’

This year’s celebrations of the International MSME Day attracted more than 200 participants from the public and private sectors, representatives from foreign embassies in Laos and educational institutes. Over 30 booths displayed information about their successful business operations, achievements of digital utilisation in business and the use of technological innovation in banking services . A panel discussion on the opportunities and challenges for e-commerce and other relevant topics was also held. The event was supported by the Regional Economic Integration of Laos into Asean, Trade and Entrepreneurship Development (RELATED) project of the Lao-German Development Cooperation, Asian Development Bank and World Bank.