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Sola David-Borha addresses the importance of supporting SMEs

The development of a set of appropriate actions for the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) capable of supporting export-led growth requires a combination of private sector investment and skills transfer.

The development of a set of appropriate actions for the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) capable of supporting export-led growth requires a combination of private sector investment and skills transfer.

This finding was made by Sola David-Borha, Chief Executive for Africa Regions for Standard Bank Group, addressing the importance of supporting SMEs and improving access to finance in the third edition of the recently held Financial Times Summit in Mozambique, in Maputo.

"SMEs are the driving force for job creation and local economic development. They provide most of the essential products and services to communities", she said.

Funding for SMEs, as highlighted by Sola David-Borha, is a challenge for many financial services providers due to the lack of information that makes access and provision of services to this sector difficult and costly.

However, she pointed out that the hope is still not lost in this context, because there are ways to circumvent the situation, since technology allows the establishment of means of financing, such as new business models based on advanced data analysis, supply chain and e-commerce financing and other innovations that can provide solutions.

"The introduction of long-term capital, non-traditional sources and training of SMEs investors are just some of the ways in which funding can be secured," she highlighted.

Further, Sola David-Borha, said that banks play a direct and practical role in realizing the potential of SMEs for inclusive growth, especially for young people, by providing platforms that enable SMEs to access capital, manage transactions both at local and global level.

In another development, the Chief Executive for Africa Regions for Standard Bank Group advocated restoring macroeconomic stability through a balanced combination of fiscal and monetary policies as a priority for private sector growth.

"Reforms to strengthen competition, the business environment and skills are also essential for business resilience, given the openness of Mozambique and its exposure to the product cycle," she said.

In his view, regional trade among rapidly diversifying economies will create opportunities for inclusive growth. However, she highlighted that there is still a lot to be done regarding legislative and physical obstacles and lack of infrastructures that inhibit cross-border and regional trade in Africa.

"Growth in other regions with high economic performance in the world, especially in Asia, has been characterized by high levels of cross-border and regional trade. This has been one of the main drivers of SMEs and skills training, job creation for young people", she sustained.

In this context, Standard Bank is working to connect markets in Africa, provide expertise and consolidate relationships to help clients negotiate in complex cross-border financial and regulatory environments.

Local teams and in-depth research enhance Standard Bank's deep understanding of market dynamics in countries with rapidly developing economies. This expertise allows the bank to create opportunities for clients to meet, establish mutually beneficial networks and relationships", she concluded.

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