While small and medium enterprise (SME) data availability, for both financial and non-financial data, has been gradually improved at the national level, there is currently no comprehensive multi-country database on SMEs which everyone can easily access at one-stop. The proposed small-scale research and development technical assistance (S-RDTA) aims to design a feasible framework for a comprehensive SME financial and non-financial information sharing platform in Asia and the Pacific at ADB called "Asia SME Finance Monitor" (the Monitor).
The Monitor is a one-stop information sharing platform on SMEs and SME finance for developing member countries (DMCs) in the form of periodical and web portal, and will provide i) in-depth analyses of issues relevant to SME finance, ii) country best practices and experiences on SME finance, and iii) timely and comparative data on SMEs and SME finance in the Asia-Pacific region. The S-RDTA focuses on designing core data components of the Monitor, methodologies of data collection and analysis, and a business model including the exit strategy. If the S-RDTA confirms the viability of the Monitor, a regional research and development technical assistance (R-RDTA) will be seamlessly formulated to implement it.
|Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy
Poor financial accessibility is often quoted as a critical factor of impeding the SME sector development, and information asymmetry is considered a main cause of deepening the supply-demand gap in SME finance. Accelerating SME informatization (timely availability of high quality SME information) is expected to improve financial accessibility for SMEs as a direct solution and to facilitate them to move to the next growth stage.
At the global level, multilateral organizations such as G20, APEC, and ASEAN have made efforts on promoting SME informatization in the context of financial inclusion. G20 discussed the expansion of SME data availability for measuring financial inclusion. APEC SME Working Group conducted an SME informatization survey for member economies in 2003. ASEAN Strategic Action Plan for SME Development 2010-2015 specified the creation of the Regional SME Development Fund for SME related infrastructure including the ASEAN SME Web Portal.
Responding to the needs to accelerate financial inclusion, several global initiatives have been launched to make financial access data publicly available, e.g., IMF Financial Access Survey, CGAP Financial Access Reports, the World Bank Enterprise Surveys, and the Global Financial Inclusion Indicators (GFII). However, most of the data collection efforts focus on households. SME data are available in some reports but only for limited indicators.
Meanwhile, national efforts on SME informatization have been accelerated especially in the ASEAN region. Indonesia has developed the Integrated Information System for Small-Scale Enterprise Development (SI-PUK). Malaysia has issued an SME Annual Report with comprehensive SME data. Thailand has also issued an Annual SME White Paper covering key SME indicators. National credit bureaus have been established in Lao PDR, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Viet Nam. SME web portals have been developed in most ASEAN countries.
Multi-country SME data will help regulators and policymakers understand SMEs' financial and non-financial conditions in other countries and support the proper design of national regulations and policies on SMEs through peer learning. According to the ADB Survey conducted in June 2012, national policymakers do tend to seek multi-country comparative SME data to design proper SME policies. ADB is an optimal organization to create such a platform, making the best use of its accumulated experiences from SME projects and networks with DMCs.
The Regional Cooperation and Integration (RCI) strategy, approved in July 2006, supports various regional initiatives including financial market development and integration. The Monitor will contribute to promoting the sound financial sector development in the Asia-Pacific region by means of involving DMCs' financial regulators and policymakers in timely policy dialogues on SME finance through one-stop platform.
Strategy 2020, the long-term strategic framework of ADB, focuses on financial sector development as a core specialization, where inclusive economic growth is a key strategic agenda. In line with this strategy, the ADB Financial Sector Operational Plan, approved in May 2011, has attached importance to supporting DMCs' efforts to enhance financial access for the traditional underserved, which includes SMEs.