MSMES and access to finance

Geneva, WTO Headquarters

See also

MSMEs are the backbone of the global economy, accounting for more than 90% of businesses worldwide. Yet, they face a financing gap and receive a disproportionately small share of credit from the financial system. Access to finance is critically important for MSMEs to expand and scale up production and, therefore, be able to serve a broader customer base, both national and international. Various factors explain the MSME financing gap. Among them, supply-side issues such as the development of the local financial sector, an enabling regulatory framework and demand-side factors. This latter category includes the capacity to fulfil loan application requirements and the availability of financial records.

Technological innovations can play an important role in enabling the delivery of financial services and bridging the funding gap for MSMEs. Various donors are experimenting with financial support schemes, including with private sector incubators, to provide MSMEs with the right skills, tools, and the funding necessary to further develop their businesses. There is a strong focus on women's economic empowerment within these approaches, and the broader thrust of attempts to address the MSME financing gap.

As part of the Aid-for-Trade Initiative, the Workshop will discuss the role that Aid for Trade can play in promoting access to finance for MSMEs through capacity building, financing programs, and multi-stakeholder dialogue. The Workshop will explore trends, discuss policy perspectives, and exchange experiences at the national and regional level.

Setting the Scene

  • "SME Competitiveness Outlook 2019: Big money for small business – Financing the Sustainable Development Goals", Marion Jansen, Chief Economist and Director, Division of Market Development, International Trade Centre (ITC)

Policy Perspectives

  • "Scaling up access to finance for MSMEs", Crispin Conroy, International Chamber of Commerce Representative Director, Geneva
  • "The role of digital technologies in facilitating access to trade finance for MSMEs in Asia-Pacific Region", Kijin Kim, Economist, Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Department, Asian Development Bank (ADB) via Video Conference

Practice Perspectives

  • "Fostering MSME development through access to finance", Andre Casterman, Member of International Trade and Finance Association Board (ITFA)
  • "Blockchain and MSME finance", Emmanuelle Ganne, Senior Analyst, Economic Research and Statistics Division, World Trade Organization (WTO)
  • "Facilitating MSMEs access to finance to promote growth", Ms. Cecile Barayre-El Shami, Program Manager, ICT Analysis Section at United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)