Bali, Indonesia, 27 July 2011

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Financial experts from nine ASEAN Member States, Japan, and the Republic of Korea, recently gathered in Bali to exchange views, lessons learnt and good practices to help Small- and Medium-Enterprises (SMEs) gain better access to finance. The two-day “Workshop on Financing for ASEAN Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in the 21st Century” aimed to find the best solution to improve MSMEs’ access to finance by bridging the asymmetric information gap i.e. between the lenders and borrowers.

Mr I Wayan Dipta, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Cooperatives and SME of Indonesia, emphasized the importance of SMEs as the backbone of economic development for ASEAN. They account for more than 96 per cent of all enterprises; generate 50-98 per cent of employment; contribute around 30-57 per cent to GDP and 19-31 per cent of exports.

One of the key barriers to SME development, however, is their limited access to finance. To be competitive, the enterprises need to invest in innovation and improve operational efficiency and productivity. Without adequate financing, the enterprises cannot innovate and be competitive in the regional and global economic climate.

Public-private partnership, either in the forms of government-to-government (G-2-G), business-to-government (B-2-G) and business-to-business (B-2-B), among Member States and Dialogue Partners could take crucial role in support of the creating the right and timely awareness for MSMEs towards these alternative sources of funding, besides the conventional bank loan.

Mr Halim Alamsyah, Deputy Governor of Bank Indonesia, pointed out the inter-connection between the three sessions.

The first plenary introduced the idea of credit guarantee, as an answer to overcome the MSMEs difficulty in providing collateral, while the second plenary on venture capital, was designed for financing the start-up of MSME. The third and final plenary emphasised the importance of financial education for MSMEs, to increase its access to the banks as well as for the purpose of consumer protection.

The workshop was co-organised by the Ministry of Cooperative and SMEs, Central Bank of Indonesia, Ministries of Finance and Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, as well as the ASEAN Secretariat.

The documents from plenary and summary reports are available for download on website: www.smecda.com/asean.