National e-commerce strategy in the works to bolster MSMEs

A national e-commerce strategy is in the works that will enable Bahrain’s Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) to be future-ready, Industry, Commerce and Tourism Minister Zayed Alzayani has said.

Speaking during the opening session of the ninth annual UN MSMEs Day Summit 2021, held virtually yesterday, the minister said the plan is to replicate the success resulting from the SME development strategy announced in 2017.

The five-year strategy has led to establishment of the SMEs Development Board to co-ordinate the efforts of various stakeholders in supporting the sector which accounts for nearly 30 per cent of the national GDP and employs almost 75pc of the private sector workforce, said Mr Alzayani.

“We’ve seen huge impact on the sector because there was clarity, there was vision and there was a roadmap... The pandemic has shown us that e-commerce is not something to be ignored and it is a gateway to the world so we are in the process to develop a national e-commerce strategy the same way we did in 2017.”

Listing other key initiatives, Mr Alzayani said 20pc of government procurement through tenders has been reserved for SMEs and there is 10pc preferential quota granted for them in the bidding of service facilities within government departments.

The two-day summit taking place under the theme ‘SMEs and Digital Transformation Post the Pandemic’ is a joint project between the Bahrain SMEs Society and the United International SMEs Organisations (Unismo), which has its permanent headquarters in Bahrain.

The summit has brought together ministers, high level policy makers, leadership of major international organisations, business associations, academia, other key stakeholders in the private and public sector.

Dr Abdulhasan Al Dairi, the president of the Bahrain SMEs Society and general co-ordinator of Unismo, said Bahrain is steadily developing entrepreneurship and support for SMEs, in which the society plays a role through various activities including organising the summit since 2010.

Noting the success of MSMEs globally in increasing wealth, creating quality jobs, and advancing the UN Sustainable Development Goals, Dr Al Dairi said rapid action is needed in facilitating economic and social recovery of MSMEs.

MSMEs are uniquely placed to participate and contribute to the rebound and vibrancy in areas such as economic diversification, improvement of health-care, education, public transport, empowerment of women and the youth, and combating climate change and its impacts, he added.




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