Mr Berlian Helmy, Economic Counselor and Mr Djaka Isa Widyatmadja, Protocol and Consular affairs at the Embassy of Indonesia in South Africa with attendees. Photo - Kwebong Communications
by Mphahlele Kunene and Sello Motsei
The Indonesian Embassy in Pretoria held a dialogue in partnership with Kgwebong Communications for local South African small and medium enterprises (SME)’s at Bodibeng Library in Soshanguve, north of Pretoria.
The purpose of the dialogue came about when the founder of Kgwebong Communications, Sello Motsei, went to Indonesia in 2006 to learn about the role of SME’s in job creation and their contribution to the economy. In 2008, at the time of the world economic recession, Indonesia adopted policies that created a framework for SME’s to receive government financial support in establishing and managing their businesses.
This policy was key to Indonesia reducing its unemployment level and thereby decreasing the poverty in the country. At the time the Indonesian unemployment rate stood at 19% and in 2010, within a period of two years, this figure dropped significantly to 7.07%.
In his presentation to SME’s from Mabopane, Soshanguve, Temba and Lebanon, Mr Berlian Helmy, Economic Counselor at the Embassy of Indonesia, said the lessons learnt by his government was that SME’s have an important role to play in contributing to the economy.
Helmy further said the policy also demonstrated that SME’s, as stakeholders, have to be given support so that they can grow and create employment for fellow citizens.
“In most cases government will not consider SME’s as key partners in helping the government in changing the unemployment and reducing poverty levels. Rather they will have confidence or trust in big business. But if you look at what happened during 2008, big businesses failed to deliver,” Helmy said.
Helmy emphasized that big business have a crucial role to play in any economy, but as with the case in Indonesia, the contribution of small and medium enterprises cannot be discounted. In fact, small and medium enterprises should be encouraged and supported.