USAID launches 5-year program to quicken MSMEs’ digitalization

Ambassador MaryKay Carlson (center) and USAID Mission Director Ryan Washburn (third from right), with BSP Governor Felipe Medalla (fourth from left) and Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual (fourth from right)

THE Philippines and the United States have launched a five-year program that will boost digitalization among local small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

US Agency for International Development (USAID)-backed “Strengthening Private Enterprise for the Digital Economy (SPEED)” aims to assist SMEs by helping them innovate and adopt safe, reliable and affordable digital-technology solutions.

SPEED also enjoins the private sector, especially financial-technology firms, to expand the use of e-payment systems. It also aims to improve the integration of e-commerce platforms in the logistics supply chain.

During the launch, Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual said the USAID program will support the agency’s goal of scaling micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) by helping them hurdle the constraints in accessing technology.

“Digitalized MSMEs can operate more efficiently, reduce costs, reach bigger markets, and earn more profits,” Pascual noted.

The secretary added that the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has been rolling out programs to support MSMEs’ digitalization, such as introducing the e-commerce roadmap and working with the Department of Information and Communications Technology in building a free e-commerce platform, among others.

DTI is also implementing the “Big Brother-Small Brother” project that digitalize supply chains, including SMEs, with Nueva Vizcaya Agricultural Terminal Inc. as a pilot site to roll out the end-to-end e-commerce platform.

In the same event Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas governor Felipe Medalla said the SPEED program will complement the central bank’s initiatives to facilitate MSMEs’ adoption of digital payments and financial services.

“The success of SPEED has the potential to promote a more inclusive digital economy toward, as we [learned] from the pandemic, a more resilient Philippine economy that [fosters] a higher quality of life for many…Filipinos,” Medalla added.

Ambassador MaryKay Carlson believes the USAID-led program will help create a robust digital economy in the country.

“I ask everyone today to work together with us, with this vision to realize digital technology that increases productivity, encourages innovation, promotes inclusive growth, catalyzes economic development, creates job opportunities, and empowers all—including and, especially, the most vulnerable,” Carlson said.

Image credits: US Embassy


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