Paris, France, April 19, 2012—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, today launched the SME Finance Forum,
a G-20 initiative designed to improve access to financial resources
for small and medium enterprises and catalyze effective SME-financing tools.
The forum was announced during a joint special event by G-20 and the Organisation
for Economic Cooperation and Development.
The forum is a knowledge-sharing platform
for data, research, and experiences for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).
Access to finance remains one of the most significant challenges for the
survival and advancement of small enterprises, which are important drivers
of economic growth in developing countries. The forum will promote
tools and approaches tailored to policy makers and funders of the SME industry
to share knowledge and build networks to improve good practices.
“Governments, the private sector, and
donors all have a role to play in helping SMEs gain critical access to
finance at every stage of growth. The SME Finance Forum will help foster
dialogue about what works,” said H.R.H. Princess Máxima of the
Netherlands, United Nations Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive
Finance for Development and Honorary Patron of G-20 Global Partnership
for Financial Inclusion, who delivered the keynote address at the event.
The forum’s website offers enhanced
access to information through dissemination of publications, analytical
tools, and standardized benchmarks for SME finance. It is a highly interactive
platform, allowing for collaboration and sharing of best practices through
online discussions. The website is intended for use by a broad range of
stakeholders, including financial institutions, development finance institutions,
policy makers, central banks, regulators, think tanks, and other relevant
private sector entities.
Matthew Gamser, IFC’s Head of the SME
Finance Forum, said, “The forum’s success will depend upon the active
participation of all the stakeholders for whom it was created.”
As an integral contributor to the G-20’s
financial-inclusion agenda, IFC manages the SME Finance Forum. The United
Kingdoms’ Department for International Development is the first supporting
partner to join this new initiative, with pledges of additional support
from other G-20 member countries.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group,
is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the
private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth
by financing investment, providing advisory services to businesses and
governments, and mobilizing capital in the international financial markets.
In fiscal 2011, amid economic uncertainty across the globe, we helped our
clients create jobs, strengthen environmental performance, and contribute
to their local communities—all while driving our investments to an all-time
high of nearly $19 billion. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.