Enabling Access to Supply-chain-finance to SMEs in East Africa
2019 - 2021
MEDA and Financial Access (FACM) with its subsidiaries Financial Access Commerce & Trade Services (FACTS) Kenya and (FACTS) Uganda are collaborating to improve access to supply chain finance for SMEs in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
SMEs in East Africa are starved of the working capital needed to fuel their growth and the growth of their suppliers and buyer enterprises. Debt financing based on the collateralizable value of accounts receivables is a common and rapid short-term finance solution alternative widely practiced around the world but almost non-existent in Africa. EASE aims to test a technology driven, cost efficient model to this challenge that is replicable and expandable to other markets.
SME finance is systematically underfunded. Small and growing businesses create around 80% of the region's employment, establishing a new middle class and fueling demand for new goods and services. These businesses face challenges due to lack of access to credit, which remains a hurdle for many SMEs in Africa.
It is estimated that 80% of SMEs cannot fulfill their growth potential due to lack of working capital. Financial institutions base their credit decisions on the availability of hard collateral (land and/or buildings), which business owners might not have access to.
Delayed payment (of sales invoices) is a universal problem for SMEs. In Africa, many companies and businesses are forced to close every year to due to delayed payment issues. Yet financial institutions limit credit exposure to 3-6% of their loan portfolios. This is economically unwarranted and social unsustainable.
The project (valued at NOK 29,174,797) will provide technical and financial assistance to MEDA’s implementing partner – Financial Access (FACM), and at least three financial institutions in Uganda, Tanzania and Kenya. These institutions will facilitate a collateral-free working capital loan to at least 100 SMEs with a total portfolio of at least USD 10 Million through reverse factor and supply finance solutions. Development of appropriate technology to digitize the exchange and commercialization of invoices is expected to make the process efficient, effective and convenient to parties involved. Subsidised credit insurance to participating financial institution is expected to incentivize financial institutions to experiment with the model while not taking any extra risk on their front
USAID ATTEINDRE (ATTAIN)
2020 - 2024
MEDA in partnership with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) are collaborating to address the key challenges to business creation and inclusive expansion through the provision of targeted support for 30,000 micro, small and medium business enterprises (MSMEs) to become bankable enterprises, enabling them to grow, become more competitive, and generate jobs within trade corridors across Haiti.
It is estimated that the formal private sector in Haiti only employs around 7% of the total labour force. In comparison, a large informal sector accounts for the majority of employment and income for many Haitians. While already grappling with systemic barriers to business creation and growth, this sector has been deeply impacted by political instability, steady depreciation of the Haitian Gourde, and movement restrictions adopted to control the spread of COVID-19. Despite these barriers, Haitians continue to pursue business opportunities and seek avenues to establish and grow their enterprises.
Haitian MSMEs operate in a challenging business environment. Political and climate-related shocks continually disrupt or damage fragile infrastructure, creating challenges for public and private actors to finance and maintain transport, logistics, road systems, communications, and power systems.
Most MSMEs operate in a large informal sector characterized by cash transactions and opportunistic trading relationships. There they face financial constraints, as the cost of credit is high and financial products are often not adapted to MSME cashflow needs.
Business advisory and workforce development services are also difficult to find, not oriented to MSME business needs, and expensive.
Finally, MSMEs experience challenges accessing a trained and skilled labor force due to limited educational opportunities and significant migration of skilled human capital out of Haiti. While the majority of small businesses in Haiti face these or similar challenges, they are disproportionately felt by women and youth.
The USAID ATTEINDRE project envisions an ecosystem where business support services and financial services are equitably distributed throughout the MSME sector and contributing to an equitable and competitive market system. MEDA, in partnership with Haitian financial, public, and private organizations will achieve impact and scale by:
- Increasing access to business advisory and workforce development services for MSMEs, by establishing a network of Haitian business advisory and workforce development service providers tailored to serve MSME needs.
- Increasing access to financial products and the utilization of their services by MSMEs to strengthen the capacity of Haitian Financial Institutions and other relevant actors to expand financial inclusion in the targeted areas.
- Strengthening the overall business ecosystem for MSMEs by the creation and reinforcement of sector associations while supporting the Government of Haiti’s strategy for MSME expansion and job creation.