ESCWA kicks off Arab SMEs Summit in Amman


In recent years, several emerging issues have posed severe challenges to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the Arab region. Overcoming these challenges by providing new opportunities for Arab SMEs is fundamental to expanding and positioning them for future progress and growth. In this context, the Arab SMEs Summit, organized by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) in cooperation with the Jordan Entreprise Development Corporation (JEDCO) and other partners, kicked off this morning in Amman, Jordan, under the patronage of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Al Hussein bin Abdullah II represented by the Jordanian Prime Minister Bisher Al-Khasawneh.

The Summit, gathering about 650 participants including entrepreneurs, investors, business influencers, political leaders, economists, journalists, intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations and donors, was inaugurated by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Supply in Jordan Yousef Alshamali, and UN Under-Secretary-General and ESCWA Executive Secretary Rola Dashti.

Al Shamali said the small and medium enterprises are of great importance to the global economy in general, and to the local economy in particular as they are crucial elements of the economic activity worldwide, being the main engine of development and economic growth. He added that such meetings are now an urgent necessity, and the Summit came as a cross-border opportunity to help small and medium enterprises in the Arab region to access regional and international markets, learn about various sources of financing, and benefit from regional and international networks.

The Summit, which will be an annual event, will address various topics such as internationalization, global value chains, access to finance, green entrepreneurship, emerging technology trends and practical applications. It also includes an exhibition where nearly 100 SMEs will have the opportunity to connect and share experiences.

For her part, Dashti said the Summit convenes amid the challenges facing the region with the aim to build a bridge that connects those who are looking for opportunities of finance, training and technology access, and those who are able to provide these opportunities; those who are ambitious to those who are wealthy and able to achieve them or invest in them. “The Summit is a bridge between policymakers and decision makers looking to empower our societies, and the available means to achieve their aspirations,” she added.