India, 28th March 2023 – CredAble 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.”
Nirav Choksi, Co-founder & CEO – CredAble added: “Today, most MSMEs operate in a fragmented manner and on a limited scale. They struggle to capitalize on global trade opportunities. We are delighted to collaborate with World Trade Symposium for ‘The Financial Inclusion in Trade Roadmap’. The overarching vision is to accelerate the collaboration among stakeholders within the global trade ecosystem and deliver tangible benefits to MSMEs by ensuring equitable access to trade finance. For years now, CredAble has been at the forefront of shaping the future of working capital financing, with associations like these, we’re taking a huge stride forward and hope to make financing more seamless and easily accessible by MSMEs in a tech-enabled format.”
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 CredAble, 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 (FCI).