Padang, West Sumatra: “Strengthen the domestic market, expand ASEAN market by utilizing the internet"; that was essentially the message emphasized in the series of activities of the Directorate for ASEAN Economic Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs in cooperation with the Provincial Government of West Sumatera, Ministry of Cooperative and SMEs, ASEAN Study Center of Andalas University, as well as Google Indonesia in Padang, West Sumatra. (30-31/10)
The Expert Staff of the Minister of Foreign Affairs on Economic Diplomacy, Mr. Ridwan Hassan together with the Marketing Head on Small and Medium Business Google Indonesia, Farida Renata Heyder conveyed policy advice for the Provincial Government of West Sumatera and technical guidance on digitizing MSMEs marketing to more than 175 participants.
The interest of West Sumatera Province to improve SMEs digitally was re-emphasized by the Governor of West Sumatra, Prof. Dr. H. Irwan Prayitno, S.Psi., M.Sc. to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Google Indonesia. Through the activity initiated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Google Indonesia would explore the opening of Gapura Digital operation program in West Sumatra Province for the development of Micro and Small Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) on a continuous basis.
Indonesia has actively entered the regional economic chain of ASEAN Economic Community (MEA). SMEs and tourism were an excellent cross-issue strategic sector but still not well performed. With the establishment of a strong platform, it was expected that these sectors could improve Indonesia's competitiveness in ASEAN. Not only improving the competitiveness, Indonesia could also gain maximum profit through the existence of MEA.
Indonesia would need to create a model that had an impact to be able to directly reach the needs of the people. Cooperation in MSMEs sector in ASEAN territory had enormous value and contributed to the increased per capita income, labor empowerment and open investment opportunities. But with the existence of MEA, there are many Indonesian people still considering MEA as a threat to MSMEs in Indonesia. Whereas with good competence, MEA was a great opportunity for tourism, MSMEs, and investment Indonesia penetrating the wider market.
In ASEAN, MSMEs were the backbone of the economy with statistics: i) a total of 96% of all firms in ASEAN; ii) the contribution of labor empowerment was about 50-97%; iii) contribution to GDP of about 30-60%, and; iv) contribution to exports was about 19-31%. The largest number of MSMEs in ASEAN was in Indonesia.
In an effort to implement Indonesia's commitment in ASEAN and to increase efficiency and productivity as well as competitiveness of MSMEs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs cq. the Directorate for ASEAN Economic Cooperation sought the implementation of training programs for stakeholders, MSME actors, and students as the prospective agents of change for national economic issues in West Sumatra. Public lectures and training would be conducted in cooperation with relevant ministries and central government agencies, selected regional governments, universities, businesses, and targeted MSMEs with high potential. It was expected that through this program, Indonesian MSME sector, particularly West Sumatera, could gain the more accurate knowledge, business practices, and access of finance to be the part of regional/global value chain (RGVC) of MEA. (Source: Directorate for ASEAN Economic Cooperation)