ERIA Discusses SMEs Digitalization at INSME General Assembly

The issue of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and digitalisation was discussed during the 19th General Assembly of the International Network of SMEs (INSME), under the theme of Explore the Impact of Artificial Intelligence on SMEs. For the first time, the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and South Asia (ERIA) was invited to participate in the meetings and present insights from around South-East Asia. The 2023 General Assembly was organised by INSME in partnership with Der Mittelstand BVMW, the German Association of Small and Medium-sized Businesses.

Digital transformation and the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies are critical to improve the productivity of ASEAN MSMEs and promote inclusive economic development.

The General Assembly was opened by Sergio Arzeni, President of INSME; and Christoph Ahlhaus, CEO of Mittelstand BVMW. Andrew Wickoff, Senior Fellow, European University Institute and Brookings Institution and former Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Director for Science, Technology and Innovation delivered the first keynote speech, covering the various stages of digitalisation and the implications for policy. Daniel Abbou, Managing Director of the German AI Association gave the second keynote speech, discussing the implications of the use of AI technologies for SMEs in Europe and beyond.

Dr Giulia Ajmone Marsan, ERIA Director of Strategy and Partnership, represented ERIA at the meetings and joined the panel discussion during the session on risk mitigation and ethics, where she discussed the positive macro-economic outlook for South-East Asia, the fast-growing digital economy and specific challenges related to inclusion and digital transformation, AI regulation and ethics and privacy protection.

The meeting had a global feel, with participation from experts and delegates from Europe, Asia and Latin America.

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