Enabling Environment for the Successful Integration of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in Global Value Chains

Country Studies of Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka

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Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in South Asia and are effective job creators and income generators. In addition, SMEs play a key role in poverty reduction and inclusive economic growth. However, SMEs in the subregion often face considerable resource constraints and have limited capabilities to compete effectively in global and regional markets. Recent experience from a wide range of the Asia-Pacific countries, particularly from South-East Asia and China, indicates that domestic SMEs can access international markets through global (and regional) value chains (GVCs). This publication aims to propose practical policy interventions for improving business environments by targeting three South Asian countries — Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka, to facilitate SMEs’ access to global and regional markets through GVCs. Sector based value chain approach was adapted to focus on a few product groups with high export potentials: plastic goods from Bangladesh; coffee and ginger for Nepal and rubber and electronic products in Sri Lanka. National action plans and a subregional programme, together with operational strategies including needed institutional framework among stakeholders, for those products were developed and presented.




This research project was implemented by Masato Abe, working under the overall supervision of Ravi Ratnayake, Director of the Trade and Investment Division and Marc Proksch, Section Chief, Private Sector and Development Section, Trade and Investment Division, United Nations ESCAP. Bhavani P. Dhungana and Bhuban B. Bajracharya played advisory roles throughout the implementation of the project. Masato Abe and Bhuban B. Bajracharya drafted Chapters 1, 2 and 3. Posh Raj Pandy contributed to a section on the value chain approach in Chapter 1. Annex 1 was prepared by Sheikh Morshed Jahan and Mohammad Saif Noman Khan, while Posh Raj Pandey contributed Annex 2. Annex 3 was written by Ananda K.W. Jayawardane, R.A. Attalage and Masato Abe. K. Ramanathan provided valuable advice on different sections of the Chapters and the Annexes. Throughout the project implementation and finalization stages, members of national steering committees in Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka provided substantive guidance.


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