Digital Acceleration Dialogue: Enabling MSME E-commerce in Southeast and South Asia

4 Dec 2020
Virtual Meeting,
By invitation only

The COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated the digital revolution, transforming how businesses operate, engage with clients and deliver goods and services. At the same time, the way micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) access payments and financing for their enterprises has been further digitized and continues to transform with the proliferation of available fintech solutions.

While the digital revolution has been accelerated, there is a risk of leaving segments of the population behind. Women-owned MSMEs have been affected disproportionately by the pandemic; this is because their business operations are often smaller and/or in the informal sector, their profits are lower and women-owned enterprises have less cash holdings than male owned enterprises, increasing the impact a financial sock has on the sustainability of their business. Furthermore, many MSMEs are yet to adopt technology due to both lack of resource and skills.

This dialogue brought together policymakers, regulators, and leading technology companies to discuss policy and technology solutions which can support Asia’s MSMEs, particularly women-led MSMEs. The dialogue aimed to identify solutions which can be operationalized to accelerate MSME e-commerce development in Southeast and South Asia in 2021-2022.

The Dialogue was co-hosted by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Alliance for eTrade Development, and supported by the Government of Canada and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).