De toegang tot investeringskapitaal voor zelfstandige ondernemers en KMO’s verbeteren.
A Joint OECD /G20 GPFI Special Event on SME Finance
Your Royal Highness, Ambassadors, Professor Zecchini, Delegates of the Working Party on SMEs and Entrepreneurship, colleagues and friends, It is a pleasure and an honour to welcome you to the OECD for a very special event on an issue of critical importance for our economies and societies today: access to finance for small and medium-sized enterprises – SMEs – and entrepreneurs.We are all aware of the difficult situations facing our countries at this moment: the economic outlook is uncertain, with a new recession still a risk for many of us. Persistent high unemployment is putting a brake on the recovery, and difficult public finances continue to limit the options policy makers have to kick-start growth. In less developed economies around the world, the challenges are different, but equally serious. And all of our countries are grappling with inequality, particularly among the most vulnerable groups in our populations. Entrepreneurs and SMEs are crucial players in the search for a more sustainable and equitable development path. They are a formidable channel for bringing new ideas and value to markets. And their contribution to social inclusion and poverty reduction is undeniable: SMEs have the potential to create jobs and growth, and to offer millions of people around the world an opportunity to improve their lives and those of their families. However, they represent a resource which has not yet been fully tapped. Access to finance, a long-standing problem for SMEs and entrepreneurs, has only been exacerbated by the recent financial and economic crisis. Together, we must ensure that sufficient financial resources can flow to help start and grow those businesses. This is an important and long-term challenge, which has been recognised at the highest levels of policy making: by the G20, the G8, and international organisations like the OECD, the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation, the United Nations and many others. However, it is a complex and multi-faceted issue. For example, how can we ensure that ongoing financial reforms and efforts to reduce the public deficit result in benefits for SMEs, and not another credit crunch? How can we help SMEs and entrepreneurs improve their financial literacy, and present their assets – including intangible ones – so that banks will find them credit-worthy? What new mechanisms for finance should be developed, particularly for innovative – and high-risk, high-reward – businesses? In developing countries, how can the basic framework conditions be put in place to ensure that men and women with viable businesses or projects can gain access to finance on reasonable terms? And very simply, how can we better monitor the situation for SMEs and entrepreneurs when data on SME finance is still incomplete?I am heartened that we have with us today so many of the key players involved in finding solutions to these problems: policy makers, regulators, central and private banks, and SME associations. This dialogue will help us gain a better understanding of these difficulties, and the actions needed to move forward. This event, organised jointly by the OECD and the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion, is one of the many ways the OECD is working with the G20 on issues of financial inclusion. In just a few days time, there will be another discussion in Washington, DC, where the important issues of financial education and consumer protection will be addressed, among others. All of these dimensions of financial inclusion – for individuals, for households, and for businesses – are important to improve the well-being of our societies.Resolving these longstanding structural deficiencies will also be an important part of the OECD’s work on “new approaches to economic challenges”, a new initiative led by our Secretary-General, Angel Gurría.Allow me to say a few words about the organisation of this afternoon’s deliberations. In just a moment, I will hand over the floor to our guest of honour, Her Royal Highness Princess Máxima of the Netherlands, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development and Honorary Patron of the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion, for a keynote address.I will then present to you the main results of the OECD’s new report on Financing SMEs and Entrepreneurs 2012: An OECD Scoreboard, which examines trends in SMEs’ and entrepreneurs’ access to finance over the past four years – before, during and coming out of the crisis. I will also address the actions which are needed to improve the data on SME finance, which is one of the main obstacles to the design of effective policies.After a short break, our colleagues from the G20 Global Partnership on Financial Inclusion will launch the SME Finance Forum, which will offer an important global platform for knowledge sharing and dissemination of best practices in SME finance.This will be followed by a roundtable discussion on the key risks, opportunities and actions needed for SMEs and entrepreneurs to fulfil their potential to contribute to an inclusive and sustainable recovery. We will conclude with a short wrap-up session, followed by a cocktail hosted by the Permanent Delegations of the Netherlands and Italy to the OECD.This is a full agenda, so let us now get down to business. As I mentioned a moment ago, we are deeply honoured to have with us today Her Royal Highness Princess Máxima of the Netherlands. Her Royal Highness brings with her a wealth of knowledge of the various dimensions of financial inclusion. After all, she started her career as an economist and investment banker! She has been deeply engaged in access to finance for a number of years, and became the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development in 2009. In 2011, Her Royal Highness became the Honorary Patron of the G20 Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion. She has been working tirelessly on these issues to help individuals, households and businesses around the world to gain access to financial services. Your Royal Highness, on behalf of the OECD and all of us present today, thank you for taking the time to come speak to us and share your perspective on this critical issue. You have the floor.
Blog Yves Leterme