13 April 2018

It’s a wrap! High-level JLP ends on a strong note to address MSME and reduce the SME finance gap

The high-level, Joint Learning Programme (JLP), Building an Inclusive MSME Financing Ecosystem, wraps up after five days of intense learning, knowledge exchange and site visits to various financial institutions including Laman Informasi Nasihat dan Khidmat (LINK), SME Corporation Malaysia, Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK), and Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC).

“There were lots of enthusiasm over the week. It’s remarkable that the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) brought together large and small member institutions together from around the globe. Inclusive growth and financial stability is an overarching goal for all countries. Therefore, it’s a privilege to sit and learn — together,” emphasized Governor Dasho Penjore from Royal Monetary of Bhutan.

The same sentiment is shared by Deputy Governor Dr. Tukiya Kankasa-Mabula from Bank of Zambia, as she stated that there’s a “need to continue having this platform for bringing decision makers together.”

Co-hosted by Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) in collaboration with AFI, the JLP gathered more than 20 high-level representatives from over 13 countries — led by over 10 Governors and Deputy Governors combined, from emerging economies.

“There’s a lot of merit in high-level training programs. Looking at the finance ecosystem in Malaysia has put into perspective Fiji’s efforts to address MSME and reduce the SME finance gap,” said Deputy Governor Joseph Esala Masitabua from Reserve Bank of Fiji.

“In Ghana, 92 percent of our businesses are SMEs, most of which are small, at the lower end of the spectrum. However, the economy is suffering; while there are growth opportunities, financing remains a problem. From what I’ve learned [during the JLP], it’s possible to go back to the drawing board,” added Deputy Governor Elsie Addo Awadzi from Bank of Ghana.

“Peer learning is the cornerstone of AFI’s events. We keep emphasizing this, as with every event, we seem to rediscover the wealth of information and technical expertise that the AFI network has to share,” conveyed Norbert Mumba, Deputy Executive Director of AFI during his closing remarks today, alongside Assistant Governor Mohammad Adhari Belal Din from BNM.

In the first decade, AFI worked closely with member institutions in developing smart polices that promote financial inclusion, most of whom have made Maya declaration commitments that resulted in faster, focused and evidence-based financial inclusion. The next phase will see AFI focusing on in-country implementation of the policies that member institutions have developed and ensuring that the effect of the new or revised policies and regulation reach, and positively impact the unbanked.

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