The small and medium enterprises (SMEs) form the backbone of any country specially the emerging economies, Indian envoy to Egypt Sanjay Bhattacharyya has said on the growth of the sector. Bhattacharyya inaugurated the ‘Roundtable of Maulana Azad Center for Indian Culture’ with a seminar entitled “Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)- Drivers of Economic Growth” on Thursday.
During the seminar, experts from the two country exchanged their views on the topic and compared their experiences. The event was the first of a monthly series. The series will discuss a variety of topics. “In the MACIC Roundtable we will have Indian and Egyptian experts to sit around and exchange views in a very informal format. This is essentially for the sharing of best practices between the two sides,” said Ambassador Bhattacharyya, who added that the roundtable will be covering a range of topics including business, culture, academic issues and other topics.
“The idea is to have a wider audience. I will invite the young people of Egypt to come in large numbers from universities, think tanks, media, civil society to take part in the roundtable,” the Ambassador said. Ashish Khanna, Indian Energy Team Leader in World Bank’s South Asia Sustainable Development Department, said the roundtable is quit important for both Indians and Egyptians as both of them share similarities.
“While 40 to 60 per cent of people in Egypt are informal employers, 90 per cent of Indians are not employed in formal sector,” Khanna said. “India has eased access to finance by having dedicated financial institutions which specialising in solving special problems of small and medium enterprises,” he added.
Ahmed Abdel Wahab, researcher from the Economic Freedom Program of the think tank Egyptian Center for Public Policy Studies said that SMEs projects in Egypt face some challenges including the lack of information and the complicated process of legal initiation in various governmental organisations.
Ihab Shaarawy editor at the Egyptian Gazette daily newspaper, spoke about his experiences as an Egyptian journalist who spent four months in 2010 in India to study a course on “journalist development”. During his stay in India, Ihab covered a variety of topics. “In India there is a special ministry of SMEs and several institutions and initiatives that are mainly concerned about the development of the SMEs sector,” said Ihab, who also highlighted the ‘Make in India’ initiative as the most recent intuitive launched by Indian government.
Asser Salama, member of Joint Business Council, showed a presentation on the challenges that face the SMEs in Egypt and the success stories of some people who succeeded in growing their projects.