In most countries, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) contribute over 50 percent to GDP and two thirds to formal employment. SMEs, which often form the backbone of the middle class, are important for social stability, innovation, inclusive growth, and poverty alleviation. They are indispensable for a future-oriented, sustainable global economy.
In recent years, policy-makers have started to pay more attention to SMEs. However, G20 governments have neither supported SMEs as much as B20 has been asking for, nor as much as the political discourse on the topic would suggest. A lot of good plans have not been implemented, mostly because of lack of accountability, commitment, and funding.
The B20 SME Cross-thematic Group has published its final policy paper. The paper is the outcome of eight months of intense discussions and hard work among 129 CTG members from 23 countries and diverse economic sectors. In five teleconferences and physical meetings in Berlin and Paris the SME CTG under the leadership of Chair Rudolf Staudigl, CEO Wacker Chemie AG, developed three highly relevant recommendations to the G20:
Facilitating SME Participation in Cross-Border Trade – G20 members should facilitate SME access to cross-border trade and global value chains (GVCs) by systematically including their voice and needs in trade agreements, by capacity building, and by easing business travel.
Building Digital Capacities and Capabilities – G20 members should facilitate SME access to the digital economy by strengthening digital infrastructure outside industrial centers, leveraging support for international multi-stakeholder initiatives on ecommerce, and enhancing the knowledge base on SME needs.
Advancing Financial Inclusion – G20 members should ensure the implementation of the G20/OECD High Level Principles on SME Financing, the G20 Action Plan on SME Financing and the G20 High Level Principles on Digital Financial Inclusion, in particular by strengthening financial market infrastructure, enhancing access to diversified financial instruments, and advancing digital financial technologies.