1 trillion USD in annual investment could unlock SMEs development power: ITC

Source: Xinhua| 2019-06-26 02:20:58|Editor: Wu Qin
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GENEVA, June 25 (Xinhua) -- Additional private investment of 1 trillion U.S. dollars annually in developing countries' small businesses would play a pivotal role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), an International Trade Centre (ITC) report said Tuesday.

ITC released its "SME (small and medium enterprise) Competitiveness Outlook 2019: Big Money for Small Business -- Financing the Sustainable Development Goals," and held a press conference on it at the United Nations in Geneva.

Expanding investment into small and medium-sized enterprises would help deliver inclusive economic growth and the UN Sustainable Development Goals, together with profits for investors, said the ITC.

"There is tremendous scope to scale up the flow of private investment towards SMEs in developing countries, including in the poorest ones," said ITC Executive Director Arancha Gonzalez.

"Mobilizing this finance can get us closer to achieving the goals set out by UN members in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development."

Currently, just a fraction of the 80 trillion U.S. dollars managed by global asset managers are invested in SMEs in developing countries, said the ITC.

At the same time there is great, untapped potential to channel capital held by global funds towards these profitable investment opportunities.

The SME Competitiveness Outlook says that several factors hold investors back from channeling more funding into otherwise profitable investment opportunities in developing countries.

These include a lack of scalable investment projects, non-transparent investment processes, misguided perceptions of the risks of investing in SMEs, and a lack of knowledge about enterprise capacities.

The report is released to coincide with the UN Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises Day on June 27 and sets out an agenda for overcoming these bottlenecks and connecting cash-rich investors with investor-ready SMEs.

It identifies potential SME investors, the challenges they face in financing small business, and how to overcome such challenges with the right policy responses.

The report also found that SMEs are fundamentally intertwined with the SDGs.

It said, "More competitive SMEs can contribute to 60 percent of the 169 targets underpinning the 17 SDGs. Their most prominent impact will be on sustainable growth and employment (Goal 8) and sustainable industrialization and innovation (Goal 9)."

The report said it compliments ongoing discussions in the World Trade Organization (WTO) on investment facilitation aimed at increasing transparency and predictability of investment procedure.

The ITC is a joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations, and it assists SMEs in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets.