SMEDA to work with ITC for enterprise development in Pakistan

International Trade Centre and SMEDA have signed an MoU at a ceremony held at the Ministry of Commerce and Industries,

Islamabad, (VOM). . Witnessed by Federal Minister of Industries – Makhdoom Syed Murtaza Mehmood, the signing cements the organizations partnership under ITC’s project Growth for Rural Advancement and Sustainable Progress (GRASP) funded by the European Union.
The objective of the project is poverty reduction and sustainable, inclusive growth through development of rural small and medium-sized enterprises in 22 districts of Sindh and Balochistan provinces of Pakistan. The project’s outcome aims to enhance the productivity and profitability of SMEs involved in primary production, service provision, and value addition in and around selected clusters of production.
The MoU with SMEDA is focused on enterprise development in Sindh and Balochistan, fulfilling the mandate of both parties. The cooperation will include the capacity building of rural SMEs on agri-entrepreneurship and agri-business management and marketing as well as facilitating rural businesses to register and meet compliance procedures related to engaging in domestic commerce. Further SMEDA and GRASP will contribute   contribute to the development of SME competitiveness and sustainability strategies in Sindh and Balochistan, aiding the Ministry of Commerce to implement complementary domestic commerce policy initiatives and raising awareness among provincial Departments of Commerce and Industries and other rule-setting departments/agencies on domestic commerce and related reforms. The capacity building of institutions also plays a role include that of business associations and SMEDA itself.
GRASP, to be implemented from 2019 – 2024, is working to create gender-inclusive employment and income opportunities in rural areas through targeted support to both the public and private sectors. The project is part of the focal sector “Rural Development” of the European Union Strategy called Multiannual Indicative Programme (MIP) for Pakistan: 2014–2020. The project will directly contribute to the attainment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), specifically SDG 1 (No Poverty), SDG 2 (Zero Hunger), SDG 5 (Gender Equality), SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) and SDG 13 (Climate Action).

Mr Stephen Langrell highlighted the importance of the partnership in improving policy, planning and research functions, stating the efforts planned to facilitate investments in climate resilient infrastructures are a timely response to climate change experienced by  climate change experienced by the SMEs.
GRASP Coordinator Mr Azher Ali Choudhry and SMEDA CEO Mr Hashim Raza commended the efforts of their teams in solidifying the partnership and improving the atmosphere for SMEs who play an important role in value addition and exports.
Mr. Makhdoom Syed Murtaza Mehmood reiterated that this project will provide SMEDA the support in carrying out their mandate, appreciated European Union’s support to the SME sector in Pakistan, and the technical capabilities International Trade Centre is building in the country.

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