Regional action crucial for financial inclusion of small enterprises in Africa

28 July 2017

Accounting and insurance regulators and practitioners have outlined potential interventions for the increased access to financial services for Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises during UNCTAD's Regional African Workshop in Nairobi, Kenya, from 19 to 20 July 2017.

Senior representatives in accounting and insurance from 11 countries participated in this event to exchange practices and formulate actions with the aim of expanding financial literacy and access to affordable financial solutions by Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).

Participants drew attention to the needs of financial literacy training for business owners and the role of mobile technologies in driving innovation and affordability for financial services. Meanwhile, they encouraged UNCTAD's efforts in supporting the region to generate an enabling environment for MSMEs to thrive.

Mr. Daniel Owoko, Chief of Staff at UNCTAD, on behalf of the Secretary General, highlighted MSMEs' key role in promoting economic development and tackling youth unemployment.

He stated that, "access to financial services in affordable conditions could be a determining factor in accelerating their contribution to attaining the Sustainable Development Goals and the African Union's Agenda 2063". He also underlined the importance of strengthening regional collaboration to address these challenges and UNCTAD's commitment to facilitate dialogue.

Mr. David Gichana, Deputy Auditor General of Kenya, emphasized the role of regulators. saying: "Policy-makers are fundamental in creating a more enabling environment. It is thus imperative to join hands with all stakeholders."

Mr. Edwin Makori, Chief Executive Officer of Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Kenya (ICPAK) and Mr. Geoffrey Ochieng, Regional Manager of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA), expressed the commitment of the professional bodies to deliver on this call.

UNCTAD organized this event through a project funded by the United Nations Development Account, with sponsorship from ICPAK and ACCA.

The event benefited from the presence of a network of experts from Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Kenya, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.