Latin America and the Caribbean 2019

Policies for Competitive SMEs in the Pacific Alliance and Participating South American countries

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The SME Policy Index is a benchmarking tool that assists emerging economies in monitoring and evaluating progress in policies that support small and medium-sized enterprises. This first application of the Index methodology in the Latin American and Caribbean region covers the four Pacific Alliance member countries (Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru) and three participating South American countries (Argentina, Ecuador, Uruguay). Divided into seven policy dimensions, this report assesses the strengths and weaknesses that exist in different areas of SME policy design, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation, and provides guidance to policy makers in identifying policy areas for future reform according to international good practices. This report is a joint effort between the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF) and the OECD through its Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Programme (LACRP), in co-operation with the Latin American and Caribbean Economic System (SELA) and the “Foundation for the Strategic Analysis and Development of the SME” (FAEDPYME).

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Colombia performs relatively well in this first SME Policy Index assessment focusing on Latin America, outperforming the LA7 average across the majority of the assessment dimensions. SME strategic orientations for the period covered by this assessment were defined in the framework of the country’s National Development Plan 2014-18, as well as its Productive Development Policy 2016-2025 (CONPES Document 3866 of 2016), and supported by a well-established “National SME Support System”, which includes institutionalised mechanisms for public-private consultation, and specific programmes targeted to subjects such as productive transformation and innovation.Going forward, while the country does have a large existing SME support offer and a relatively strong planning and design culture, Colombia could consider a re-assessment of its existing strategic documents and institutional organisation related to SME development, prioritising the clear definition of roles and responsibilities; integration of measurable, impact-oriented KPIs; and clearer communication of the integrated support offer. The changing of political administrations in the country, which took place at the close of this assessment, offers a particularly timely moment to consider these possible next steps.

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