Ideas for Developing Asia and the Pacific

Calls for Papers: Leveraging SME Finance through Value Chains in the CAREC Landlocked Economies

Leveraging SME Finance through Value Chains in the CAREC Landlocked Economies
Asian Development Bank, ADB Institute, and CAREC Institute
Beijing, People’s Republic of China
14 May 2018

The Asian Development Bank (ADB), ADB Institute (ADBI), and CAREC Institute are organizing a 1-day workshop in Beijing, People’s Republic of China, 14 May 2018, and a final conference to present papers in mid-October.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) contribute much to economic activity but less to trade in Asia, and only 22% of all SMEs are in supply chains. The less-than-optimal participation of SMEs in domestic and global value chains implies that SMEs lack the technical and financial capital to connect to and compete in markets. To bring CAREC SMEs’ share in economic activity, trade, and global value chain links up to par with other Asia-Pacific SMEs’, CAREC SMEs need more resources, skill sets, market access, access to finance, and regulatory support to thrive and compete.

Stronger SMEs can foster private enterprise, innovation, market development, employment, and economic diversification, and induce efficient allocation of scarce resources. By joining global value chains, SMEs can help develop the CAREC landlocked economies. SMEs, especially in agribusiness, can help the region diversify its production base, create jobs, reduce poverty, and ensure regional food security. Linking regional agriculture value chains in sparsely populated cities and distant markets will not only improve market shares and cash flow projections but also offer better access to finance.

ADBI and the CAREC Institute invite paper proposals on Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Mongolia, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Turkmenistan.

The papers should accomplish the following:

  1. Provide an overview of the status of SME finance, including the cultural, procedural, institutional, and regulatory incentives, disincentives, and barriers faced by SMEs in accessing finance, and the reasons they are rejected when they seek access. Discuss crowdfunding where relevant.
  2. Assess SMEs’ opportunities to link with domestic and global value chains, especially in agriculture, and their potential impact on SMEs’ access to finance.
  3. Assess SME managers’ financial knowledge and skills.
  4. Based on 1–3 above, recommend ways to increase SMEs’ financial access and increase SME managers’ financial knowledge and skills.


  1. An original publishable research paper covering topics 1–4 above (30–35 pages, A4): preliminary draft—30 September 2018, final draft―30 November 2018. The paper should include an abstract, keywords, and JEL codes, and be accompanied by Excel files of any figures and non-editable tables.
  2. Attendance in workshops and conferences organized by ADBI, ADB, CAREC Institute, and other activity sponsors.
  3. A blog post of 600–1,000 words for ADBI’s Asia Pathways and CAREC Institute’s Policy Perspective.

The selection committee for the conference program consists of senior researchers of ADB, ADBI, and CAREC Institute.

Important dates

  • Deadline for submission of proposals: 22 April 2018
  • Workshop date: 14 May 2018


Please send your response to this call for papers to Asian Development Bank Institute ([email protected])


All submissions should be forwarded via email with the subject line “SME Finance_{your last name}_{paper title}”. Authors whose proposals have been selected will be notified by 25 April. Only authors of selected manuscripts will be notified. For one presenter of each accepted manuscript, the organizers will cover the cost of one round-trip economy-class airfare, hotel accommodation, and daily subsistence allowance for the duration of the conference, plus an honorarium for the paper. Presenters must be a citizen of an ADB member country.