Zimbabwe SMEs receive World Bank, Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe support
06-07-2017 06:08:00 | by: Bob Koigi | hits: 5926 | Tags:

The World Bank Group, the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe, and the Zimbabwe Reconstruction Fund have commenced a three-day conference on Small and Medium Enterprise Finance in Zimbabwe, as part of Zimbabwe’s National Financial Inclusion Strategy initiated in 2016.  

SMEs play an important role in the Zimbabwean economy yet are beset by a myriad of challenges.

Alejandro Alvarez de la Campa, Practice Manager for the World Bank Group’s Finance and Markets Global Practice, said: “Small and medium enterprises in Zimbabwe, like in most emerging markets, are the backbone of the economy but they face many difficulties, especially relating to access to finance and skills development. Women entrepreneurs face distinct challenges.

By helping them address important issues, small businesses and entrepreneurs will have more opportunities to grow and boost job creation and economic growth in Zimbabwe.”

Since the launch of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy in 2016, the government has embarked on a number of initiatives to create an environment conducive to SME growth and better access to finance.

The World Bank Group is currently advising the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe on establishing a Credit Guarantee Scheme. A credit guarantee scheme would greatly aid in Zimbabwe’s quest for financial inclusion, as it will assist SMEs to overcome credit worthiness challenges and enable them to access credit at affordable cost.

It is the first time in over two decades that the World Bank Group has gathered experts from different countries in Zimbabwe to share their experiences in the SME sector, in the hopes of re-igniting smaller and medium enterprise development in the country.

The World Bank Group, including IFC, has deployed 13 experts to work with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to strengthen the financial sector drive towards SME finance. Additional experts participating in the conference include credit guarantee experts from India, Malaysia, Korea, and the United States.