We are helping set the global agenda on finance for small and medium enterprises.
“Who puts all these pieces of the puzzle together?”
It is an essential question for policymakers and institutions grappling with the challenges of development. It was posed in 2010 by H.R.H. Princess Máxima of the Netherlands, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development. “A puzzle-maker is needed to ensure that all the different efforts talk to each other, and to help us identify remaining information gaps,” she said.
Heads of state from the G-20—the world’s foremost international economic policy coordination body—have asked IFC to take on this role to enhance access to finance for small and medium enterprises. The group cited IFC’s decades of experience as an international agenda-setter on SME finance development. That experience gives us a vast body of practical knowledge we can share, drawn from our extensive investment, advisory, policy, and research work in every region, and longstanding client relationships and partnerships with financial institutions, donor agencies, and others.
In Pittsburgh, the G-20 leaders launched a new Financial Inclusion Initiative, vowing to expand the world’s best work on SME finance as part of a broader mandate. To do so, they sought IFC’s support, in close collaboration with the World Bank, on three central tasks:
Advising the Financial Inclusion Experts Group, a new high-level body that was tasked with sharing knowledge of successful models of financial services delivery for the poor and scaling up access to finance for SMEs. Our advice led to the creation of a new Global Partnership on Financial Inclusion.
Producing Scaling up SME Access to Financial Services in the Developing World, a comprehensive report summarizing the SME finance gap and its challenges, with summaries of 164 effective responses from governments, development finance institutions, and the private sector.
Supporting the SME Finance Challenge, a global competition to produce innovative private sector proposals to strengthen SMEs, achieving large-scale results by making the most of limited amounts of public funding.
To help bring the benefits of financial inclusion to millions, IFC is working with Canada and other partners to facilitate the creation of an SME Finance Innovation Fund to implement winning proposals from the SME Finance Challenge by November.