World Bank alters small business investment approach

Jul 27, 2010

The World Bank has appointed Standard Chartered Bank to assist with providing finance to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as part of a raft of changes to its investment strategy in this area.

Under the new arrangement, the World Bank will no longer liaise directly with individual companies on financial issues, instead opting to work with established organisations that already help SMEs access finance on a regular basis, Business Daily reports. The change comes after a successful trial period in North Africa and the programme will be in place for the next three years.

Operations Officer for the SME Solutions Centre at World Bank subsidiary the International Finance Corporation Nkatha Michira told the news source the new approach will have a number of benefits for growing enterprises. "We have changed our engagement strategy with SMEs to ensure that we reach more and enhance their linkage with established firms," she stated.

Small firms in South Africa are also set to get improved access to finance, following the establishment of My Arms Wide Open, a new charity aimed at providing loans and other services to family-run enterprises.