Nairobi, Kenya, May 15, 2018
– Sub-Saharan Africa’s small and medium
enterprises have benefited enormously from the revolution in digital finance
in the region, and now require more innovation and targeted approaches
to reach entrepreneurs hungry for $331 billion in new funding across Africa.
These issues are at the forefront of discussion in Nairobi at the SME Finance
Forum, an initiative managed by IFC, a member of the World Bank Group.
Microentrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises
are leading employment in Sub-Saharan Africa and contribute significantly
to economic growth. But, their development is constrained by limited access
to finance and markets. In Sub-Saharan Africa, there are at least 44 million
formal MSMEs, 51% of which require more finance than they can access to
grow their businesses.
Through the first Africa SME Finance Forum,
IFC, financial institutions and entrepreneurs are seeking to find solutions
to close the gap. The conference on May 15-16 will explore local and global
best practice SME banking solutions to harness digital technology, e-commerce
and blockchain, to promote youth entrepreneurship and new SME banking models.
SMEs are critical to meeting the needs of
Africa’s rapidly growing population. Africa’s working age population
will increase by 1.7 million people a month until 2030, and the urban population
is expected to double over the next 25 years.
“We are seeing significant improvements
in access to finance in Africa, creating opportunities for small and medium
enterprises that create jobs and reduce poverty. We should celebrate the
gains while recognizing we have much more to do. Digital finance is the
future so we must expand and tailor products and services to meet the growing
needs of a dynamic continent,” said Karin Finkelston, Vice President of
Partnerships, Communication, and Outreach at IFC.
“We realize that the Kenyan economy runs
on small and medium sized enterprises, and we need to ensure that they
have adequate access to the financing that they need to be successful,”
said Dr. Patrick Njoroge, Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya, who opened
the SME Finance Forum event in Kenya.
“We are at a time of immense change
in finance – change that opens up opportunities to serve SMEs. The SME
Finance Forum hopes to accelerate this change by helping the finance industry
learn from each other, link to new market opportunities, and lead the industry’s
voice in high level policy dialogue,” said Matthew Gamser, CEO of the
SME Finance Forum.
IFC - a sister organization of the World
Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development
institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work
with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise,
and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas
of the world. In FY17, we delivered a record $19.3 billion in long-term
financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private
sector to help end poverty and boost shared prosperity. For more information,
About the SME Finance Forum
The SME Finance Forum works to expand access
to finance for small and medium businesses. The Forum operates a global
membership network that brings together financial institutions, technology
companies, and development finance institutions to share knowledge, spur
innovation, and promote the growth of SMEs. Established in 2012 by the
G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion, the SME Finance Forum is
managed by IFC. For more information, visit http://www.smefinanceforum.org