The International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada and the Economic Policy Research Centre (EPRC) are holding an E-conference on Micro-Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) resilience and recovery during Covid-19.

The conference will discuss challenges occasioned by Covid 19 and also serve to launch a new project on Mitigating Socio-economic impacts of Covid-19 and Promoting a post pandemic resilience in Uganda.

IDRC conf banner for SM final

 Achieving growth through a strong and competitive private sector by supporting MSMEs is an ongoing development strategy under the third National Development Plan (NDPIII). However, the outbreak of COVID 19 has highlighted pre-existing vulnerabilities, unpreparedness and the need to deepen the support to increase the domestic production capacity of MSMEs. While there is a legitimate cause to address challenges, there is an equal call to embrace the opportunities offered by the pandemic, by channeling resources and interventions to the emerging sectors. This provides an impetus to the Government of Uganda to layout interventions to address the impacts of COVID 19 on households and businesses, taking into consideration revenue shortfalls and disruption of supply chains for MSMEs.

Therefore, under the theme “MSMEs Resilience and Recovery in the Face of COVID 19,” this e-conference will provide a platform to share views on interventions to respond to the needs of MSMEs in the current atmosphere. The objectives of the e-conference are to:

Examine the role of MSMEs in the domestic economy and the effect of the pandemic on their operations, taking into account their characteristics; size, spatial distribution, sectors and composition of youth/women employees;

Discuss the adequacy and sustainability of planned and existing stimulus package.  Specifically, examine the eligibility criteria for MSMEs, i.e. location, tax compliance and registration, targeted sectors etc. Also, discuss alternative strategies that can be employed to finance MSMEs;

Explore the role of evidence-based policymaking in identifying MSMEs and informing the design of measures of the government response, including stimulus packages, during and after the pandemic. Also,   the conference will discuss options for strategic policy engagement with key policy actors;

Evaluate the challenges and opportunities for female and youth-owned MSMEs in doing business;

Highlight the role of technology during and post lockdown, especially the impact of e-commerce and challenges of market penetration therein; internet access disparities related to firm size, rural-urban digital divide and unequal gender digital divide, affordability of internet; and how the technology infrastructure can be improved and further leveraged by MSMEs;

Recommend strategies and mechanisms, and capacity development needs that MSMEs may leverage to adapt to the ‘new normal’ while building resilience for future shocks.

The IDRC Canada is supporting this project. Through the project, EPRC will conduct regular enterprise surveys that will enable periodic monitoring of how businesses are responding to the consequences of Covid-19 in Uganda. The conference will be held on Tuesday September 8, 2020 starting at 3:00 pm and on Wednesday from 2:00 pm-3:00 pm.

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