ADFIAP’s SME Finance Initiative (SME/FI) and its other SME programs and activities have been featured in the “Power of A” website https://www.thepowerofa.org/, the Washington, D.C.-based American Society of Association Executives’ (ASAE) https://www.asaecenter.org/ vehicle to communicate the work and advocacies of associations and non-profits around the world.
The SME /FI is a knowledge and business network that puts together the resources of development banks, other specialized financial institutions, and development organizations in different countries to address specific issues in the financing of and other support services to small and medium enterprises (SMEs). The initiative was borne out of the fact that SMEs play a critical role in the sustainable growth and economic development of the Asia-Pacific region. About 90% of businesses in the region are SMEs contributing to more than 60% of employment, representing about 30% of GDP, and from 10 to 60% of manufacturing exports. SMEs were also instrumental in helping economies recover from the harsh effects of the recent global financial crisis by generating additional job and income opportunities and tax revenues for governments.
The three components of the SME/FI are: (1) The CEO Forum https://www.adfiap.org/ceo-forum/, – the dialogue and business networking event where development bank chief executives meet and learn from their own experiences as well as from experts of other organizations worldwide (2) The SME/FI website https://www.smefi.com/ the “Knowledge Net on SME Finance” and (3) The SME Training https://www.adfiap.org/idf/ and Advisory Center https://www.adfiap.org/consulting/, – that undertakes training programs and technical assistance on SME finance to assist members strengthen their capabilities in SME banking.
Currently, SME/FI’s activities are directed towards providing a platform for SME financial inclusion initiatives at the operational level, focusing on how to bridge the financing gap between SMEs and financial institutions. These activities address what interventions SMEs need in order to succeed and become “bankable”; and what role DFIs and other financial institutions should play in advancing financial inclusion of SMEs in the region. Other activities include collaborative projects with various domestic and regional institutions, such as the Sustainable Program for SMEs project, the SME Financial Inclusion program, the EU grant-funded SMEs for Environmental Accountability, Responsibility and Transparency (SMART Cebu) project https://www.smartcebuproject.com/, international operational dialogues with key stakeholders on SME financial inclusion and setting up an apex organization to respond to the specific needs of SMEs in the region to make them more attractive to financial institutions and investors.
ADFIAP describes this strategy in pursuing this catalytic role of associations as “development by partnership” wherein it capitalizes and harnesses the strengths of like-minded institutions and works in a concerted effort with and through them to transform its SME development and finance advocacy into reality.