IFC, a member of the World Bank Group has announced that it will be launching SME Finance Forum, a platform for small and medium businesses to share financial data, research, and best practices.
Unveiled at the Group of 20 summit in Cannes, France, last week, the forum is one of many initiatives designed to increase access to financial services for households and small businesses. The SME Finance Forum, managed by IFC, will launch in Spring 2012.
As an integral contributor to the G-20 leadership’s financial inclusion agenda, IFC also publicly released in Cannes four reports aimed at helping the estimated 2.7 billion people and 400 million businesses worldwide that do not have access to financial services and products needed for growth.
The four IFC reports endorsed by the G20 are the “SME Finance Policy Guide,” a reference guide for governments and regulators on financial inclusion strategies; “Strengthening Access to Finance for Women-Owned SMEs in Developing Countries;” “Scaling Up Access to Finance for Agricultural SMEs;” and “Financial Inclusion Data: Assessing the Landscape and Country-level Target Approaches.”
“Addressing the obstacles faced by SMEs requires international development institutions, governments, and the private sector to continue to work together, “ said Peer Stein, IFC’s head of Access to Finance. “IFC is shaping policy that translates into much-needed improvement in financial access for households and businesses in developing countries.”
At the G-20 summit in Seoul last year, IFC was designated one of the three implementing partners of the Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion, along with the Alliance for Financial Inclusion and CGAP, an independent policy and research center dedicated to advancing financial access for the world’s poor.
As part of its role in the GPFI, IFC contributed to the SME Finance Challenge, a competition launched by the G-20 to identify models that enable access to finance for SMEs. IFC established a fund for winners of the challenge.
At last week’s Cannes summit, the G-20 leadership lauded IFC’s role in setting up a finance framework that mobilizes grant and risk capital for winning proposals from the SME Finance Challenge and for scaling up successful SME financing models. G-20 leaders also called on IFC to continue supporting supply-side data collection work, in collaboration with CGAP and the IMF.
To access the four reports, please visit http://www.ifc.org/accesstofinance