The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group Center of Excellence in Kuala Lumpur, in partnership with the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), SME Corporation Malaysia (SME Corp), the Investment Account Platform (IAP), and the International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance (INCEIF) has hosted a webinar on “Showcasing Malaysia’s Replicable Solutions on Supporting MSMEs through COVID-19 Crisis and Beyond” today, 7th of July 2020.
The webinar aimed at showcasing Malaysia’s experience in mitigating the negative impact of COVID-19 pandemic on MSMEs and showcasing replicable support solutions in the public and private sectors, particularly using digital solutions based on Islamic Finance principles.
Dr. Mansur Muhtar, the Vice President Country Programs of the IsDB, and Datuk Wira Dr. Hj. Rais Hussin Mohamed Ariff, the chairman of MDEC, addressed the opening session of the webinar.
While praising Malaysia for the long-standing partnership with IsDB Group particularly on sharing development knowledge and expertise with other Member Countries, Dr. Mansur Muhtar highlighted the extensive focus on supporting MSMEs in IsDB Group development programs, particularly the Bank’s Strategic Response & Preparedness Program (SPRP) for COVID-19 which takes a holistic three track approach known as 3Rs (Response, Restore and Restart).
“Supporting micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) is a key component of our response program especially under the ‘restore’ track, which is spearheaded by our private sector entities. Several programs targeting MSMEs support were launched including the Strengthening Economic Resilience of Vulnerable Enterprises or SERVE program, line of financing facility, and a flagship COVID-19 Guarantee Facility under development” Said the IsDB Vice President.
Datuk Dr Rais emphasised the importance of building strong digital infrastructure and accelerating the transition to digital economy to enhance the resilience and recovery from such pandemics.
The Chairman of MDEC said, “On behalf of MDEC, we are very proud to partner with IsDB to organise this virtual event and with the support of our partners, we will continue to work with our stakeholders to achieve the mission of establishing Malaysia 5.0. Malaysia will continue to support, foster greater international collaboration and sharing experience with ecosystem partners in Digital Economy, Islamic Finance, Halal and IR4.0 technologies, in line with MDEC’s goals to establish Malaysia as the heart of Digital ASEAN. It is a testament that Malaysia is a springboard into ASEAN, bridging Asia, the Middle East and Africa and interconnected with Ummah globally.”
Moderated by the President and CEO of INCEIF, Professor Dato' Dr Mohd Azmi Omar, the first session of the webinar included a panel discussion on Overview of Malaysia’s Strategies and Programs in Mitigating COVID-19 Crisis Impact on MSMEs with three high-level panellists namely, Ms. Surina Shukri, CEO of MDEC, Mr. Noor Azmi Mat Said, CEO of SME Corp and Ms. Joann Enriquez, CEO of IAP.
The panellists highlighted Malaysia’s approach in supporting MSMEs to thrive through COVID-19 crisis, its experience in leveraging digital technologies to accelerate MSMEs shift to online business activities and shared examples of impactful MSMEs support programs including lessons learned from the experience. The second session focused on showcasing replicable MSMEs support solutions such as accelerated e-commerce integration, micro-finance and micro-insurance, sales and marketing technologies as well as e-payment solutions by Malaysian leading technology companies. The companies featured during the session are Aspirasi, MyBiz Solutions, Sales Candy International, GHL System and Soft Space. The webinar was widely attended by policy makers, government agencies, private entities and MSMEs from various IsDB Member Countries in Africa, Asia and MENA. The webinar was also observed by senior staff from IsDB Group, diplomatic missions of OIC Countries in Malaysia, media representatives, Multilateral Development Banks and UN Agencies.
The IsDB Group Center of Excellence in Kuala Lumpur serves as a gateway between Malaysia and other Member Countries of the IsDB facilitating the exchange of comprehensive development solutions including know-how, technology, tools, and investments in Islamic Finance, Halal Industry, Science Technology and Innovation, Resources Mobilisation and Reverse Linkage (technical cooperation).
Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC), an agency under the Ministry of Communications & Multimedia, is driving the digital transformation and adoption across the public and private sectors in Malaysia. MDEC is leading the initiatives related to the digital on-boarding of MSMEs under the COVID-19 response plan including accelerating e-commerce integration, facilitating remote working and communication, scaling-up e-payments, enabling digital marketing and supporting HR digital solutions among others.