VSO has joined forces with the Financial Sector Deepening Trust (FSDT) to host the first ever forum spotlighting the supply side issues to financing for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Tanzania. The idea behind the SME Managers’ Forum, taking place in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, this Friday (1 August), is to help financial institutions strategise on systematic barriers to SME financing and recognise best practice in this field from across the world.
FSDT’s own national baseline study in 2012 identified access to financing as the most significant challenges for the growth and survival of SMEs. Similarly, commercial banks face increasing risks from inexperience of the SME owners, lack of well-prepared financial statements, lack of in-depth knowledge about the actual needs of SME and bureaucracies related to process of acquiring, managing and exiting clients.
Anuradha Banerjee, VSO SME Advisor, comments, “Finding solutions to SME financing is critical for the development of the business community, which in turn impacts the contribution that SMEs can make to the economy as well as to job creation. This secures livelihoods which is central pillar to VSO’s global poverty reduction strategy.”
Although awareness of the barriers to finance for SMEs is high, there was no real forum involving the commercial banks actively looking at suitable solutions here in Tanzania. Peter Kingu, FSDT’s SME Specialist, comments, “The establishment of the SME Managers’ Forum is a step forward toward inclusive growth of the SME sub-sector.”
With managers from across the Tanzanian banking spectrum expected to attend, discussions will kick off after a brief presentation of global best practices in the field by VSO’s Anuradha Banerjee, who is currently on a corporate volunteering placement from Barclays Bank in the UK. Attendees will then break into working groups to explore various aspects of the SME Banking value chain, from understanding the SME market in Tanzania to designing appropriate products and services and establishing effective models of operation and information management systems.
VSO has been increasing its focus on secure livelihoods in Tanzania for the last three years, while FSDT has a remit since 2004 to deepen the financial system to allow more Tanzanians to access finance.
“The coming together of our agencies for this week’s forum allows us to combine expertise and insight that will to help support lenders to better access the SME market,” says Jean Van Wetter, VSO Country Director in Tanzania. “As a leading international development agency with 53 years experience here, we are committed to supporting growth through enterprise and working actively with the private sector to improve the commercial viability and skills of SMEs in the country.”
The Small and Medium Enterprise Managers Forum on Access to Finance takes place from 8am on 1 August 2014, at the New Africa Hotel, Dar es Salaam.
VSO is the world’s leading independent international development organisation that works through volunteers to fight poverty in developing countries. VSO's high-impact approach involves bringing people together to share skills, build capabilities, promote international understanding and action, and change lives to make the world a fairer place for all. See www.vsointernational.org for more information.
Find out more about VSO in Tanzania.