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Development of Micro, Small, and Medium in ASEAN (MSME)

Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) are integral to the economic development and growth of ASEAN Member States. Allowing for different definitions, there are 70 million MSMEs in ASEAN, accounting for between 97.2% – 99.9% of total establishments in ASEAN Member States. Where data is available, the micro enterprises often constitutes the largest share of enterprises. Regionally, the MSMEs contribute 85% to employment, 44.8% to GDP and 18% to national exports.

These figures indicate that MSMEs play important roles to economic and social development, contributing to value-added activities, innovation and inclusive growth through the creation of job opportunities and their widespread presence in both urban and rural areas. MSMEs are thus the backbone of ASEAN and are fundamental towards achieving long-run and sustainable economic growth and in narrowing the development gap.


In ASEAN, cooperation on SME development began in 1995, when fostering SME development became one of the priority areas in respect of policy focus and resources. The ASEAN SME Agencies Working Group (SMEWG), which comprised representatives from SME Agencies in AMS, was formed to formulate policies, programmes and activities on SME development.

In January 2016, the ASEAN SMEWG was renamed to the ASEAN Coordinating Committee on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (ACC MSME) to better reflect the expanded scope of work to cover micro enterprises and to reflect the need to expand the composition of the committee to include representatives from other areas besides the MSME agencies.

The ACCMSME meets twice a year and reports to the Senior Economic Officials Meeting under the mandate of the ASEAN Economic Ministers. ACCMSME chairmanship is on a yearly rotational basis. 

Key Priority Areas - Strategic Action Plan on SME Development 2016-2025

MSME development in ASEAN is currently guided by the ten-year ASEAN Strategic Action Plan for SME Development 2016 – 2025 (SAP SMED 2025).  The SAP SMED 2025, which was launched at the sidelines of the 27th ASEAN Summit in November 2015, serves to strengthen ASEAN cooperation  in an increasingly competitive economic environment and to support MSMEs’ growth and development through the vision of creating globally competitive and innovative MSME by 2025.The plan aims to address issues commonly faced by MSMEs through five strategic goals, namely:


  • Strategic Goal A: Promote Productivity, Technology, and Innovation;

  • Strategic Goal B: Increase Access to Finance;

  • Strategic Goal C: Enhance Market Access and Internationalisation;

  • Strategic Goal D: Enhance Policy and Regulatory Environment; and

  • Strategic Goal E: Promote Entrepreneurship and Human Capital Development.

The ACC MSME acts as the overall coordinating committee responsible for overseeing MSME development initiatives in the region. Under its directives, two task forces have been established to address and advise the ACCMSME on specific matters corresponding to the Strategic Goals of SAP SMED 2025. With MSME development being a cross-cutting issue in ASEAN, ACCMSME through various forms of consultations draws on views and expertise from other sectoral bodies, partners and stakeholders, and work with other governmental agencies, private sectors and civil society organisations as appropriate towards mutual benefits.


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