Surveys consistently show that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) face greater constraints on access to finance than do large firms, due to issues of information asymmetry, lack of collateral, and higher cost of servicing loans. In view of the large contribution of SMEs to output and employment in emerging Asian economies, it is critical to enhance the access of SMEs to finance in a way that is consistent with sustainable growth and financial stability. Rapid expansion of credit to consumers or SMEs could result in over-indebtedness and financial instability. Examples include the United States subprime crisis of 2007, India’s 2010 microfinance crisis, and the People’s Republic of China’s problems with peer-to-peer (P2P) lending platforms in 2016. To preserve financial stability while enhancing SMEs’ access to credit, it is important to strengthen financial regulations, enhance consumer protection measures, and promote financial education.
To further expand lending to SMEs by commercial banks and multilateral financial institutions (MFIs), countries’ lending infrastructure—which includes credit bureaus, credit guarantee agencies, and collateral registries—needs to be improved. In addition, it is important to set up centralized databases on MFI performance, to facilitate business partnerships between banks and MFIs.
National development banks can play an important role in improving financial inclusion for SMEs through innovative products directly or in combination with the private sector. The key question is how to provide assistance to SMEs while not distorting existing market mechanisms and ensuring fiscal sustainability.
Financial technology (fintech) companies, which provide financial services by making use of software and digital technology, have enormous potential for improving financial access of SMEs. Asia and the Pacific led global investments in fintechs in 2016 for the first time. However, the advancement of fintechs as an innovative solution for SME financing requires proper regulation. A major challenge to regulators is how to strike the right balance between facilitating innovation and preserving financial stability.
- Identify the current situation, challenges, and emerging trends in SME financing in Asia and the Pacific and Latin America
- Disseminate information on best practices with respect to enhancing SME finance in a manner that is sustainable and consistent with financial stability
- Analyze supply-side policies that can promote SME access to finance and generally foster higher SME productivity and growth.
Key topics include the following:
- Costs and benefits of various forms of partnerships between banks and MFIs
- Alternative business models such as interest-free microfinance
- Key priorities for improving financial infrastructure in developing countries to support the expansion of credit to SMEs
- Experiences and good practices of national development bank programs to foster SME access to finance in both Asia and Latin America
- Opportunities and challenges of fintech to facilitate SMEs access to finance
- Conference with experts, academics, and policy makers
How to register
By invitation only.
UNESCAP, CIFC, UNECLAC, AFI
Time of event
Day 1: 09:30 - 18:30
Day 2: 09:00 - 17:00