ADFIAP, ITC to boost SMEs in As-Pac Region

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In an effort to boost the capacity of SMEs in Asia and the Pacific, ADFIAP and the Geneva-based International Trade Centre (ITC) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on October 28, 2009 in Makati City, Philippines to build a long-term strategy for a regional SME Finance and Knowledge Centre, expected to be first in Asia. Sealing the agreement at the press briefing during the International CEO Forum VI are (L-R) Octavio B. Peralta, Secretary General of ADFIAP, and Roger Megelas, ITC Senior Adviser, Trade Finance for SMEs Unit. Looking on are (L-R): ADFIAP Chairman Fuimaono Falefa Lima, General Manager of the Development Bank of Samoa and Isidro Sobrecarey, ADFIAP Deputy Secretary General.

ITC, a joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations that assist developing and transition countries achieve sustainable human development through exports, is extending an initial grant of US$28,500 to ADFIAP for the project which eventually aims to raise a project funding of over US$ 200,000.

Specifically, the regional SME Finance and Knowledge Centre aims to build the capacity of trade support institutions (TSIs), chambers of commerce and industry and SMEs, resulting in easier access to finance. Using existing practical tools and solutions developed by both organizations, the Centre is expected to produce country-based resource persons that would train and coach SME managers on sound financial management practices. SMEs account for around 90% of all businesses and employ as much as 60% of the workforce in the region. At present, however, they generate only around 30% of exports, mainly due to lack of access to credit.

An expert roundtable to develop the framework and modalities of the project is set to be held this November.

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