MAS Partners IFC and UNDP to Launch Global MSME Empowerment Programmeby Fintech News Singapore June 15, 2022
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), in partnership with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), has launched an open financial education and action programme for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Asia and Africa.
Known as the SME Financial Empowerment (SFE), this programme aims to help MSMEs build foundational digital financial literacy skills, and gain a good understanding of cross-border financial services relevant to MSMEs, to help them thrive in the post-pandemic digital economy.
The SFE was rolled out with market partners in Asia and Africa, starting with Ghana, India, the Philippines, and Singapore, and will benefit more than 400,000 MSMEs across both regions.
This programme runs on a digital portal operated by Proxtera, the lead operational partner for SFE, which provides a global platform to link domestic SME ecosystems and catalyse cross border trade, financing, and digital services.
The other key entities supporting the SFE are the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF), Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) and the Global Fintech Institute (GFI).
In 2022, the SFE aims to assist MSMEs in three key areas – Essential Financial Digital Skillset, MSME Financial Services, and Digital Economy Access & Growth.
The first tranche of the programme will comprise two learning modules focused on essential financial digital skillsets.
Upon completion of each module, businesses will receive a digitally verifiable certificate issued by SUSS and GFI, that grants access to financial services tools and knowledge services through a resource hub.
The SFE learning modules incorporate best practices on key financial literacy and financing topics, benefitting from the programme sponsors, Ant Group, Digital Pilipinas, Globe Telecom, Validus and Visa as well as from a wider ecosystem of community partners including Bolttech, Coface, Consolidated Bank of Ghana, Development Bank Ghana, and Philippines Department of Trade and Industry Philippine Trade Training Center.
Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief Fintech Officer of MAS, said,
“An empowered MSME is essential to an equitable and sustainable digital economy. Such enablement begins with digital economy literacy. The affordable, bite-sized learning programme provided by SFE is a collaborative effort involving financial institutions, and public and private sectors.
Through the foundational and global financial literacy modules, MSMEs in Asia and Africa will benefit from new skills to leverage networks, financial and digital tools to grow their business internationally.”
Qamar Saleem, Regional Industry Manger, Financial Institutions Group Advisory Services, Asia and Pacific at IFC, shared,
“We are delighted to partner with MAS and UNDP for this impactful initiative, which has the potential to improve the livelihoods of thousands of small business owners in emerging markets. Empowering MSMEs with financial literacy and digital skillsets will help to level the playing field for smaller businesses, ultimately helping to address financing gaps and improving financial inclusion.
Our team in Singapore will also play a vital role in maximizing the impact of this program through its extensive knowledge and decades of experience in implementing best practice and strengthening the processes and resources of MSMEs in emerging markets around the world. We look forward to leveraging our expertise to build a better future for MSMEs in Asia and Africa.”