The synergy between MSMEs and digital infrastructure promises to reshape the landscape of economic growth and prosperity: T. Rabi Sankar, Deputy Governor, RBI
Day 3 of the Global SME Finance Forum 2023 saw panel discussions and keynote addresses by thought leaders likeShri Chanchal Chand Sarkar, Economic Adviser, DEA,Ministry of Finance, India, Shri T. Rabi Sankar, Deputy Governor, RBI, Shri Ajay Seth, Secretary, DEA, Ministry of Finance, India, Ashwini KumarTewari, Managing Director, SBI,Ms. Nisha Nambiyar, Chief General Manager, RBI ,Mohamed Gouled, VP Global Industries, IFC, Magda Bianco, GPFI Co-Chair, Michael Jongeneel, CEO, FMO and Jane Prokop, SME EVP, MasterCard
Mumbai:The Global SME Finance Forum 2023 continued to ignite insightful discussions and foster collaboration among key stakeholders on its third day. This last day was an official side event of the G20 Indian Presidency.
The event started with the welcome remarks by Shri Chanchal Chand Sarkar, Economic Adviser, DEA, Ministry of Finance, India.
He said during his welcome address,“In collaboration with esteemed leaders from the DEA and the Reserve Bank of India, we embark on a journey towards extraordinary outcomes. Our focus on critical global financial issues like financial inclusion, climate finance, and crypto assets underscores the need to empower small and medium enterprises. As we implement the G20 Financial Inclusion Action Plan, we are committed to accelerating the growth of SMEs and fostering a more inclusive, resilient, and sustainable financial system.”
In his keynote,Shri T. Rabi Sankar,Deputy Governor, RBI, said “A robust MSME sector is the bedrock of sustained economic growth and job creation. Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI) empowers MSMEs, bridging the digital divide and unlocking boundless potential. The hurdles faced by MSMEs, such as limited access to credit, and delayed payments, can be efficiently overcome through digitization. With innovative credit solutions and digital ecosystems, we’re poised to transform challenges into opportunities.”
He added, “The RBI Innovation Hub’s pioneering effort to establish a frictionless credit public tech platform holds tremendous potential. This platform will usher in seamless access to credit by enabling the smooth flow of vital data for credit evaluations among diverse stakeholders.”
Addressing the Forum Shri Ajay Seth, Secretary, DEA, Ministry of Finance, India, “The G20 leaders recognize the pivotal role of startups and MSMEs in driving sustainable and inclusive growth. Bridging the digital divide, including women’s participation in MSMEs, is a key priority. The G20’s commitment to advancing financial inclusion and productivity through DPIs is a testament to their dedication to fostering a thriving MSME sector. India, along with the SME Finance Forum and GPFI, is poised to collaborate and seize these opportunities for growth beyond G20 countries too.”
One of the pivotal topics addressed during the Global SME Finance Forum’s third day was the need for an enabling environment for SMEs to access green finance. Panel delved into the vital role that banks, development finance institutions (DFIs), and regulators play in crafting a framework that clearly defines “green” financing for SMEs. The conversation revolved around collaborative efforts to build an ecosystem that encourages and supports SMEs in adopting sustainable practices, showcasing real-world examples of successful initiatives that have aligned SMEs with environmentally responsible practices.
The day culminated in a thought-provoking discussion on gender equity in SME financing within the digital landscape. Panelists ardently explored how digital financial ecosystems can serve as a powerful tool for reducing biases against women entrepreneurs. The conversation emphasized the importance of addressing the specific needs of women in terms of capacity building, networking, and access to financial services.
Commenting at the closing of the Global SME Finance Forum 2023,Mr. Shalabh Tandon, Regional Head of Operations & climate and Interim South Asia Director, IFC, extended thanks to everyone for transformative discussions over the past three days and said,” Digital ecosystems are change-makers, India’s initiatives like UPI, Jan Dhan and Aadhaar, set a remarkable example. IFC, alongside partners, is dedicated to financial inclusion. We look forward to future Forums that build upon the momentum of this event. Together, through innovation and learning, we can shape a more inclusive and digitally empowered financial landscape for MSMEs.”
The Global SME Finance Forum 2023 provided a platform for experts to share insights and strategies for leveraging digital tools and platforms to create a more inclusive and equitable landscape for SMEs so they can create more jobs and contribute fully to economic growth.