Access to financing key to growing MSMEs
ILOILO CITY, Philippines—Business leaders from the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) member economies stressed the need for financial inclusion and literacy, which were deemed as key enablers to achieving the agenda laid out by the Philippines to boost the competitiveness of the micro, small and medium sized enterprises (MSMEs).
Technology and innovation will be critical in pushing for financial inclusion and literacy as these will enable policymakers, governments and the private sector to craft alternative financing instruments that could address the needs of MSMEs.
“Recognizing the importance of sharing the benefits of globalization to MSMEs is a priority agenda of the Apec Business Advisory Council’s (Abac) chairmanship this year. MSMEs play a vital role in boosting economic development in the Asia Pacific region,” Abac chair Doris Magsaysay Ho said at the Apec SME Finance Forum held here on Tuesday.
“Unfortunately, many MSMEs are unable to access financing, thus stifling their ability to grow their business, pursue innovation, or comply with minimum standards to enable their participation in local supply chains much less global value chains,” she said.
According to Ho, Abac’s recommendations have been premised largely on the belief that financial inclusion is a key factor that could create the changes being sought.
Financial inclusion means access to financial services and improving bank lending efficiency, as well as broadening the range of financing instruments available to SMEs to better serve their diversified financing needs.
“The region is home to more than a billion people who do not have access to bank account or formal financial services. There has to be a clear understanding of the perspectives across disadvantaged communities in order to more effectively promote financial inclusion. These are people who, if given the right opportunities and access to resources, may just become the next successful global entrepreneur,” Ho said.
“We need financing instruments that will provide financing for startups as well as financial innovation that responds to the changing business models. We also call on wider cooperation in the development of innovative policies that foster financial inclusion and literacy. Much has been achieved but significant work remains to be done. Technology is the great enabler that will allow the changes we seek,” Ho said.
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