TradeFlow Capital Management supports World Trade Board plan to empower SMEs through trade and finance

28 March 2023 – TradeFlow Capital Management (TradeFlow) has contributed to the World Trade Board’s new plan to drive greater access to trade finance for MSMEs, the Financial Inclusion in Trade Roadmap. Launched today for consultation, the plan identifies five key areas where coordinated action can make a significant impact. Crucially, the Roadmap aims to accelerate the pace of change by providing a holistic framework for public and private sector collaboration.

MSMEs make up around 90% of businesses globally, but accounted for just 23% of applications for trade finance in 2020. Despite their low representation, these smaller firms made up 40% of rejected trade finance applications. This mismatch between demand for and supply of trade financing, known as the trade finance gap, is growing rapidly – from an estimated $1.5 trillion in 2018 to $2 trillion in 2022, and shows no signs of slowing.

Michael Vrontamitis, Deputy Chair of the World Trade Board, said: “Difficulty accessing finance means MSMEs are greatly under-represented in global trade. Many good ideas to increase financial inclusion have been put into action, but to accelerate progress we need to harness the knowledge and technology available to us into collective action. Our framework aligns diverse stakeholders towards a common vision, with clear lines of responsibility in a results-driven approach. We now invite the industry to provide feedback that will improve the Roadmap, then partner with us on implementation.”

Dr Tom James, CEO & CIO of TradeFlow added: “TradeFlow is pleased to have contributed to the development of this roadmap; enabling trade for MSMEs in developing nations has been our key mission from day one, which we believe helps achieves many of the UN SDGs. The launch of the roadmap crucially aligns industry players further to increase trade efficiencies and narrow the trade finance gap worsened by the covid-19 pandemic.”

Writing in the Roadmap’s foreword, Pascal Lamy, Coordinator of the Jacques Delors Think Tanks, President of the Paris Peace Forum and Strategic Advisor to the World Trade Board, notes: “When it comes to the gaps in the provision of trade finance, no commercial bank or multilateral institution can address these [challenges] on their own. They need to find new ways of partnering with each other, with governments and with other innovative organisations to deliver their expertise.” To this end, the Financial Inclusion in Trade Roadmap suggests actions in five key areas:

Pillar 1: Digital infrastructure
Digital identities: Accelerate the adoption of digital identities, such as the Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) and Decentralised Identifiers, through mandated utilisation in the financial services sector.

Pillar 2: Legal/Regulatory infrastructure
Support the adoption of, or alignment of legal frameworks with, UNIDROIT’s Factoring Model Law (FML), expected to be released in Q3 2023 and its broader implications and facilitate adoption of efficient regulatory regimes.

Pillar 3: Data infrastructure
Gain access to trade receivables-related data points to update traditional credit-decisioning methods.

Pillar 4: Technical assistance
Support technical learning amongst financial institutions and MSMEs on matters related to legal, digital and data infrastructure.

Pillar 5: New funding sources
Develop an infrastructure to encourage investment in credible MSME trade finance assets.

Simon Paris, Chair of the World Trade Board and CEO of Finastra, added: “MSMEs are the fuel of our national economies and the lifeblood of their communities. Together as an industry, I’m sure we have the knowledge, expertise and technology to address the various challenges in a coordinated, collaborative way and help redefine finance for good. This roadmap is a major step towards that goal and we look forward to working with industry further to hasten our progress towards it.”

Before the Roadmap is made final, The World Trade Board invites comments and feedback from all stakeholders to help ensure the guidance can be implemented as broadly as possible. The Financial Inclusion in Trade Roadmap can be found at the World Trade Symposium website and feedback should be sent to

In addition to the contributions made by TradeFlow, key contributors to the Roadmap include the International Chamber of Commerce UK (ICC UK), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), BAFT (Bankers Association for Finance and Trade), the International Trade and Forfaiting Association (ITFA) and Factors Chain International (FCI).

Media contact:

For TradeFlow Capital Management
Daniel Chua, Vice-President, Stakeholder Relations and ESG

TradeFlow & H2O Venture Partners generate real-world impact for Carbon abatement and UN SDGs enablement

“Proof of Work” model simplifies carbon offsets process though focus on relevant core factors

SINGAPORE, March 27, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — With recent controversies in the carbon markets marring the true potential of genuine carbon offsets for doing good, TradeFlow Capital Management (TradeFlow) and H2O Venture Partners (H2O) are pleased to share their pioneering collaboration that abates carbon emissions whilst achieving UN SDGs.
Rather than through the conventional model of purchasing verified carbon offsets on the open market, TradeFlow worked directly with H2O, utilising established methodology and material evidence of carbon abatement. Simplicity and a focus on core relevant factors of the carbon-offset process avoids expensive onboarding and management fees, allowing fees to be more directly re-invested into scaling up offset operations.

FarmFresh, a school-feeding project in Kigali, Rwanda, provides an example of this model, where 182,294 kg of CO2 equivalent emissions were averted from less firewood burned for the period September 2022 to February 2023. Instead of each school cooking their own beans (the main source of daily protein to school children in Rwanda) over open fires and with long cooking times, FarmFresh prepares the beans in-factory using highly energy-efficient modern cooking facilities and packs them in lightweight recyclable laminate pouches (rather than large tins previously) for ease of distribution. This results in less food waste and a 97% reduction in the energy used per kg of cooked beans. Moreover, the process is regulated to the highest food safety standards resulting in improved quality and nutritional standards than achieved previously.
The success of this model aligning affordability, nutritional quality and environmental sustainability has led to an agreement with the City of Kigali and the Heads of Schools Organisation Rwanda to enrol more schools in Kigali to scale up production to 120 metric tons (mt) of cooked beans per month, up from the ~20 mt/month at present. This will equate to 50,000 school lunches per day, and lead to even more carbon abated as a result.

Says Paul Coleman: “This is a great example of an informal, voluntary scheme built on trust between the payer and the project, with a pragmatic, robust methodology that doesn’t require external consultants working out the savings to the nth decimal point. Rather, we have a transparent methodology that estimates the main carbon savings and links them to a company performance metric (in this case, kilograms of beans sold) that can be audited by local firms. Our simple, transparent and affordable model avoids the high cost of Certification agencies, which involves certified auditors flown in every year.

The carbon credits from TradeFlow are a very exciting development therefore. The carbon credit payments will be used to help collect data from the schools we are working with in Kigali, and in collaboration with our local partners, to learn lessons to inform further scaling and a strategy for national coverage.”

Says Dr Tom James, CEO and CIO of TradeFlow : “We believe businesses can make the right choices to create positive impact, and are pleased to support the pioneering work of partners like H2O at ground level to increase their scale of positive impact. Empowered by our Digitalised model of trade to narrow the SME trade finance gap, we’re especially glad to be able to enable a number of UN SDGs for the countries we operate in to reduce poverty and improve the quality of life.”

About TradeFlow Capital Management (Tradeflow)

TradeFlow is the world’s first Fintech-powered commodity trade enabler focused on SMEs. TradeFlow consists of a diverse team of experts with the focused mission of addressing the increasing trade finance gap faced by global SMEs operating as producers/traders/end-users in the bulk commodity trading space. By performing an enabling role in international trade and globalization, TradeFlow creates growth opportunities for businesses and economies.

To date, TradeFlow has successfully invested in more than US$1.5 Bn of physical commodity trade through 1000+ transactions across 15+ countries and 27+ commodity types, with more than 800 SME counterpart entities KYC reviewed. As part of its unique business model, The TradeFlow Funds*, advised by TradeFlow, were conceived in 2016 and launched in 2018.

TradeFlow is a Partner of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) to mobilise capital and improve trade finance access for SMEs worldwide through the “‘ICC Trade Now” and “ICC Digital Trade Standards Initiative” platforms.

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About H2O Venture Partners

H2O Venture Partners (“H2O” is a specialised firm creating brand new enterprises that fill gaps in important value chains where no established players exist. H2O managed the UK Government Department for International Development (DFID)-funded Social Enterprises for Economic Development (SEED) Programme in Rwanda which originated a portfolio of social enterprises. This portfolio of SMEs benefits from working closely with TradeFlow for the flow of input (e.g. Ingabo Plant Health, output commodities (e.g. Rumbuka Seeds and informal, voluntary carbon credit payments (e.g.

About the FarmFresh Project

FarmFresh was founded in 2015 as part of the UK Government Department for International Development (DFID) funded SEED Programme, managed by H2O. FarmFresh is an innovative Kigali-based food processing company that markets branded, fully-cooked Rwandan beans in laminated pouches aimed at retail consumers and institutions across East Africa.

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Dr. Tom James on Channel News Asia’s “Masters of Finance”

Dr Tom James, CEO and CIO of TradeFlow Capital Management  explains the unique value proposition of the company, and shares  strategic  insights into the future of trade finance and commodities trading on Channel NewsAsia’s “Masters of Finance”.  Watch the episode  HERE




Interview with the Founders

Digitalization in Commodities and Energy – Talk given by TradeFlow Capital Management founder Tom James