UN report highlights measures to improve MSME access to finance in Samoa

Street Vendor A2
A street vendor in downtown Apia in Samoa


Bangkok (ESCAP news19 AUGUST 2020: The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Central Bank of Samoa (CBS) launched a joint report today called Micro, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises’ Access to Finance in Samoa.

The study finds that while micro enterprise financing in Samoa is accessible to much of the population, only 50 per cent of small and medium enterprise (SMEs) have obtained commercial finance.

On the occasion, Maiava Atalina Ainuu-Enari, Governor of the Central Bank of Samoa stated, “We greatly appreciate the support from ESCAP and the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) that has enabled these important MSME studies to be carried out. This support and studies assist in carrying out the mission of the CBS in fostering a sound and vibrant financial system for Samoa’s economic development. We look forward to taking these up with our key stakeholders and development partners to improve access to finance for MSMEs.”

“We are pleased to be launching, alongside our partners the Central Bank of Samoa and UNCDF, the studies on MSME Access to Finance in Samoa. As we know, MSMEs make up a significant contribution to economic growth and job creation across Asia and the Pacific.

“However, they often encounter difficulties in accessing finance, with women owned MSMEs particularly underserved by financial institutions, due to economic and socio-cultural factors. This report identifies several concrete recommendations to bridge the financing gap,” said the  Executive Secretary of ESCAP, Ms. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana.

Women at Park
Samoan women and children at the park

The studies analyse the supply and demand of financial services for MSMEs within Samoa’s existing policy and regulatory frameworks and those required to better enable them to use financial services. The analysis also provides financial and non-financial recommendations to further support Samoa’s MSMEs.

Judith Karl, Executive Secretary of UNCDF noted, “This report shows that there is considerable unmet demand for commercial finance from MSMEs in Samoa, including for women entrepreneurs, and it highlights useful measures to address constraints such as lack of collateral and weak business cases. Through our activities in the Pacific, UNCDF helps address some of these constraints by supporting MSMEs to leverage digital tools to improve and grow their businesses. We stand ready to continue our collaboration with ESCAP and the Central Bank of Samoa to further help MSMEs access capital and to address the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The far-reaching socio-economic impacts of COVID-19 has also reached the shores of Samoa. In parallel, the UN bodies launched the COVID-19 Supplementary Report and Recommendations, focusing on immediate measures to address MSME needs at this critical time. The supplemental report further identified immediate measures to support both financial institutions and MSME borrowers to cope with the current challenges faced due to the pandemic.

The reports are part of ESCAP’s MSME Financing Series, undertaken with financial support from the Government of Canada, through Global Affairs Canada.

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