Small and Medium-sized Enterprises are the backbone of almost all economies in the world. Their essential contribution to sustained and broad-based development has become even more indispensable in the regional and global economy of today. This is particularly the case in ASEAN, with each member nation having between 52 and 97 percent of its domestic employment within the SME sector. Here in Cambodia, a recent report from the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia puts SME employment at 73 percent of the domestic work force.
More than 125 small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) entrepreneurs attended a one-day workshop in Phnom Penh today to enhance their knowledge and skills on good business practices presented by U.S. multi-national companies.
Sponsored by the US-ASEAN Business Alliance for Competitive SMEs, a partnership between the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the US-ASEAN Business Council (US-ABC), the workshop included training in good business, financial and legal practices, and solutions including e-commerce and logistic tools to help improve the competitiveness of the participating firms.
On behalf of the American people, thank you for allowing me to make brief remarks. A fundamental principle in democracy is that citizens have the right to demand accountability and that the government at all levels from the commune council to the national level including the Ministry of Education have an obligation to be accountable. Each and every appointed and elected official and civil servants are accountable for their conduct and performance.
I am honored to be here this afternoon in recognition of Cambodia’s National Day against Trafficking. I would like to recognize the Provincial Committee to Combat Human Trafficking who have worked closely with our partner – Winrock International – to make this event a reality. Too many Cambodians continue to be pushed into situations where they are easily exploited or trafficked. We need to recommit our collective energy to ensure those situations are a thing of the past.
According to the WHO status report on road safety, road traffic accidents result in more than 1 million deaths globally each year. For every 1 person who dies in a road traffic crash, 20 are injured. And 1 in 20 of those injured is left with a disability. At such a scale, this is an issue that impacts each of us. We envision a world where we and our loved ones face fewer risks as we go about our everyday lives.
But the numbers don’t really describe the huge impact that accidents have. A traffic death may cost a family its wage earner. Traffic injuries may mean a child won’t be able to attend school. In short – the accidents have the potential to cost Cambodia’s government and its society heavily. What makes events like today all the more exciting, however, is that we come together not just to discuss the problem, but to celebrate a solution: the Asia Injury Prevention Foundation’s “Head Safe, Helmet On” campaign.
Last updated: August 19, 2015