The Kingdom chosen to host the Forum on SME financing

The SME Finance Forum, managed by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), has chosen Cambodia to host the ninth edition of its annual flagship event, where more than 400 participants from 60 countries are invited to exchange experiences on associated development. to small businesses in the Kingdom. and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Organized in partnership with the National Bank of Cambodia, the 9th Global Forum on SME Finance scheduled for September 19-21 in Phnom Penh aims to explore how digitalization can promote and accelerate green finance, improve the efficiency of the procurement, improve data security and automate processes, while facilitating greater financial inclusion.

A delegation from the SME Finance Forum is currently in Cambodia for the three-day event. On September 19, they visited ACLEDA Bank Plc, where forum CEO Matthew Gamser spoke to reporters about the event.

Gamer pointed out that the more than 400 attendees will network with SMEs and share relevant experiences.

“We [SME Finance Forum] exist as a center of learning and networking in the area of ​​small business finance and financial inclusion. So every year we have an annual meeting where we try to bring people together in different cities around the world to learn from each other.

“This year we chose to come to Phnom Penh because it is such an interesting place that we have an institution like ACLEDA that really pushes the boundaries of how you can serve small businesses, micro businesses and consumers in a different way that will be more effective.

“We were thrilled to be here as our mission is to promote learning…we are really looking forward to learning from each other, finding new partnerships[s] we can build and even have a good dialogue with many people in the public sector here.

“We are going to have a good dialogue [on] how to create a good environment to support SMEs[s] and to support financial inclusion,” he said.

ACLEDA’s President and CEO, In Channy, told reporters that the purpose of the visit was to better understand the development of the SME and banking sectors, as well as ACLEDA and its contributions to the sustainable growth of national economy and SMEs.

He explained that ACLEDA has grown from a local NGO to a fully-fledged commercial bank, the largest in Cambodia – in terms of gross lending. The bank is also Cambodia’s first to expand to neighboring countries – Laos and Myanmar in 2008 and 2013, respectively, he said.

In May 2020, ACLEDA became the first commercial bank to issue shares on the Cambodia Stock Exchange (CSX), he added.

“We are happy to share and at the same time learn from the delegates, who are business leaders from different entities around the world, and we hope that mutual benefits will be maximized for business entities as well as SMEs around the world. world by successfully combining expertise and experiences,” said Channy.

Channy shared that of ACLEDA’s $6 billion in outstanding loans, 80% has gone to SMEs, a figure he says is growing at around 20% per year.

As of June 30, the bank’s total assets were $8.34 billion and total savings deposits were $6.01 billion in 3.59 million accounts, he said. . On the mobile banking front, the bank had 2.5 million users and 175,000 partners as of August 31, he added.

Melvin B. Baillie