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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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).
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