CESD had the opportunity to organize an event on Trade and Investment policies for inclusive transformation in South East Asia along the ICTSD (International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development). The conference aimed at discussing strategies for human capital development aiming to ensure sustainable and inclusive development through job creation, labour rights, and business-friendly policies.

CESD, ICTSD and partners from the CLMV countries (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam) came together to explore the potential and opportunities for change in these areas. This workshop built upon research and policy dialogues developed over the past years focusing on the potential for sustainable development gains in the context of the changing structure and nature of business toward fragmentation, servicification, and digitization.

The workshop was officially opened by Dr. Maung Maung Thein, Former Deputy Finance Minister for Myanmar who gave a welcoming speech highlighting the importance of formulating policies based on evidence that can be shared in public dialogues that helps stimulate innovation and following a needs-based approach that is crucial for inclusive development. The workshop witnessed many academic and research experts; including Mr. Min Zarni Lin, Deputy Director of Research at CESD; discussing several crucial topics related to trade and investment including regulatory standards and evaluations, integration of SMEs into global value chains, the importance of human capital development to achieve inclusive economic growth among others.

The conference also hosted a separate component on Digital Economy and how digital infrastructure and related policies could play a vital role in integrating SMEs from developing and least developed countries into the global value chain. The conference played host to a wide variety of stakeholders from National Ministries of the CLMV countries, GIZ, USAID and other private sector representatives.

Panel discussions ensured that the audience gathered had a deeper understanding of the existing infrastructure, business climate, and trade/investment policies of the different countries as well as gain an understanding of where each country focused its priorities. Mr. Aung Naing Oo, Director General of DICA and Mr. Thaung Tin, Former Deputy Telecom Minister and Representative of the Myanmar Computer Association helped in giving insights on Myanmar’s focus and future in the areas of trade and digital economy respectively.

The dialogue was structured to help generate awareness of global and regional trends in business and policy and engage participants in adding and enriching with their own experiences. Participants learned from others in the region and left the dialogue with an understanding of policy priorities of those in others sectors and governments. The dialogue also helped to identify ongoing priorities and opportunities for development of national strategies and capacity.

The workshop co-organized by the CESD and ICTSD was a stepping stone to engage in future dialogues with regional and other global stakeholders to ensure that Myanmar enacts policies that allow for a more business-friendly environment that benefits local business, especially SMEs in integrating themselves into global value chains through the use of digital infrastructure.



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