SMEs are an emerging area of focus within IORA which has a key aim of facilitating trade and investment.
SMEs were identified in the Second IORA Ministerial Economic and Business Conference (EBC-II) held in Dubai, UAE in April 2016 where Ministers and Heads of Delegations from 13 countries agreed that SMEs require greater support and facilitation (for the full report see www.iora-ebc.com). Participants noted that SMEs constitute more than 90% of all business enterprises in the world and provide nearly 70% of global employment.
The workshop identified implementing an MOU for cooperation amongst IORA SMEs would provide multiple benefits: Member States would be able to encourage and provide an appropriate platform to their SMEs to interact with each other, acquire appropriate technology and explore trade and investment opportunities. The workshop also identified key areas for regional cooperation including building linkages and alliances amongst SMEs and key stakeholders; exchanging best practices, policies and programmes; promoting SMEs in the global supply chains; increasing market access; promote youth and women's economic empowerment and synergies with the IORA Business Forum.
Objectives of the SME MOU Workshop were to: