USAid launches P1B project for SMEs
By: Manila Times
THE United States Agency for International Development (USAid) has launched a five-year P1 billion or $18 million partnership with the Philippine government to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) transition into e-commerce ventures.
The US Embassy in the Philippines said the Strengthening Private Enterprises for the Digital Economy (Speed) project was launched on January 11.
It aims to expand the participation of SMEs in the country’s “emerging e-commerce ecosystem by improving their capacity to adopt digital technologies,” the embassy said on Tuesday.
Speed will support the integration of SMEs and e-commerce platforms in logistical supply chains, increase the use of e-payment systems and other fintech innovations, and strengthen consumer awareness and protection.
The project supports the US government’s goal to help the Philippines develop a robust, secure and resilient digital economy as a key to drive post-pandemic recovery and long-term economic growth for the country.
“As we all know, Covid-19 has fundamentally altered the way we do things, accelerating the shift toward e-commerce, digital platforms and the digital economy of the post-pandemic world,” US Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson said at the launching event.
Speed signals the US government’s strong commitment to support the Philippine government’s vision of a digital Philippines.
Trade and Industry Secretary Alfredo Pascual and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Felipe Medalla were present during the Speed launching.
“[The] Key in DTI’s (Department of Trade and Industry) support to scale MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) is to help them overcome constraints to their access to technology,” Pascual said.
“We aim to enable MSMEs to embrace digital transformation. This way, I believe DTI and USAid’s directions to enhance SME capacities align,” he said.
Pascual also cited DTI’s support to the development of the government’s e-commerce adoption platform, and their planned supply chain digitalization project that aims to digitize logistics and supply chains nationwide.
“The BSP is optimistic that the programs under Speed will further support the BSP’s Digital Payments Transformation Roadmap objective to convert at least 50 percent of retail payment transactions to digital form by the end of 2023,” Medalla said.
“Collaborations and partnerships such as this will contribute toward a more resilient and stronger Philippine economy that promotes a high quality of life for all Filipinos,” he added.
During the event, private sector partners led by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry also launched the Philippine E-Commerce Alliance, the embassy said. Established with the support of USAid, this private sector-led coalition will facilitate the development of a national business agenda for digital transformation and inclusion.