MEDA, in partnership with Global Affairs Canada, Sarona Asset Management and the University of Waterloo, seek to improve household economic wellbeing for women and men employees and smallholder farmers through advancing trade and economic growth of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) across Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Trade plays a vital role in promoting inclusive growth in local economies. Yet SMEs struggle to access short-term financing that enables them to increase their competitiveness by allowing them to offer stable employment and develop supply chains served by small-scale enterprises.
Trading Up is a blended finance project combining investment and technical training to increase the availability of trade finance to SMEs and to strengthen the capacity of market actors in the trade finance ecosystem, improving economic wellbeing of SMEs, employees and small farmers.
Although developing economies are achieving significant economic advancement, growth is not even and the benefits are not realized by all. The World Bank reports significant income and livelihood disparities within and across low and middle-income countries. These disparities are exacerbated forwomen and youth who face barriers based on their gender and age. According to the United Nations, 1.3 billion people live in multi-dimensional poverty with many middle-income countries like Nigeria, Laos and Philippines having over 50% of their population living in poverty.
SMEs play a significant role in the advancement of trade, boosting economic growth and reducing poverty. However, they are unable to operate at an optimal level due to a lack of trade finance. Trade finance, also known as working capital or short-term financing, is the foundation for many SMEs. Trade finance enables SMEs to:
According to research commissioned by Trading Up, global unmet demand for SME trade finance totals $150 billion in developing markets, with $37 billion in low-income and least developed countries.