Youth and female representatives from the 10 ASEAN member states and the Republic of Korea gathered in Siem Riep, Cambodia, on December 10 discussing how to enhance their role in bolstering the growth of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The function was co-organised by the ASEAN Secretariat and the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

H.E Nong Sakal, Director General of ASEAN-Cambodia Directorate, under the Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, said the engagement of women and youth in the labour force can significantly boost per capita incomes and GDP growth in emerging markets.

According to the ASEAN Secretariat’s press release, the seminar acted as an open forum for participants voicing their opinions on the involvement of youth and women in the SME sector and in the supply chain and on how to strengthen their competitiveness, flexibility and business sustainability.

The participants called for more relevant capacity building programmes, including establishing an interactive e-platform for youth and women; promoting government policies facilitating the development and ability to access financial sources of SMEs.

Their proposals will be tabled for further discussion at the ASEAN – RoK Commemorative Summit 2014 in the RoK’s Busan city during December 11 – 12.-VNA