Setting businesses on the road to recovery in Asia-Pacific
With small and medium-sized businesses employing an estimated 60-70% of workers in most countries, it stands to reason that more support should be offered to these businesses as economies around the world attempt to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Alfonso Garcia Mora, the newly appointed regional vice-president for Asia-Pacific, International Finance Corporation (IFC), said, “The economic and social impact of COVID-19 will continue to exact a toll on people and businesses, leaving an indelible mark on the region’s economies and private sector.”
To help thousands of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) build resilience on their road to recovery, the IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, has thus far supported 13 companies in the region with US$554 million in COVID-19 related funding in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020.
This has directly benefited over 190,000 employees in the manufacturing, agriculture, services and energy sectors, while the IFC has also deployed $492 million in COVID-19 related trade finance lines in the region.
Additionally, about 17,500 MSMEs and corporations in the region are expected to benefit from IFC’s $2 billion Working Capital Solutions (WCS) programme in FY 2020. The aim of the programme, explained IFC, is to help emerging-market banks extend credit so that businesses can continue to operate and prevent job loss.
One country that has enjoyed the benefits of the IFC programme is Vietnam, where the IFC expanded trade financing limits for four banks by $294 million to address, in advance, potential trade finance challenges.
The move, the IFC reported, resulted in over 330 export and import transactions by local SMEs valued at over $200 million.