Phnom Penh to Host Global SME Finance Forum

International leaders from the finance sector will gather in Phnom Penh in September for the Global SME Finance Forum, which is being held for the first time in three years.
SUVs drive near the Independence Monument in Phnom Penh. Kiripost/Siv Channa
SUVs drive near the Independence Monument in Phnom Penh. Kiripost/Siv Channa

Global leaders in the finance sector are slated to gather in the Cambodian capital in September when Phnom Penh hosts the SME Finance Forum.

The SME Finance Forum, an initiative managed by International Finance Corporation (IFC), has partnered with National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) to host the Global SME Finance Forum 2022 in Phnom Penh, from September 19 to 21.

Lined up speakers include Chea Serey, NBC’s Director General; Manu Rajan, Wing Bank CEO; Alex Stuart, Vice President of Visa in Southeast Asia; Michael Schlein, President and CEO of Accion; and Sopnendu Mohanty of Monetary Authority of Singapore, among more than 20 international executives.

‘Harnessing Digitalization for Sustainable and Inclusive SME Finance’ is the central theme of the forum, which last took place in 2019 in Amsterdam, and was attended by more than 500 senior executives from banks, finance institutions, and fintech companies.

Matthew Gamser, CEO of the SME Finance Forum, said: “This year, for the first time in almost three years, we’re going to have a physical, global SME finance forum meeting. It’s going to be a great event as all of our physical events have been.”

The power of digital transformation in promoting inclusive, sustainable and responsible finance for MSMEs – the backbone of the world’s economies – are the main focus at this year’s global event.

At the Global SME Finance Forum 2022, topics include agricultural digitalization, digital currencies, distributed ledgers and the future of SME financing, and leveraging digital innovations for women entrepreneurs. Training sessions will cover green, social and sustainability bonds executive, countering trade-based money laundering, and responsible finance in the digital age.

“Digitalization transforms businesses, reduces costs, automates processes, and brings down the reliance on manpower,” the organizer said. “In the financial industry sector, it helps reduce the high risk traditionally associated with financing small businesses, through technologies such as real-time data collection and machine learning.”

The three-day conference at Hyatt Regency Phnom Penh, with five study tours to private banks, will look into “how digitalization can promote and accelerate green finance, enhance supply-chain efficiencies, improve data security, and automate processes.” Acleda Bank, Cambodia Post Bank, Credit Bureau of Cambodia, Hatha Bank, and WING Bank are hosting the study tours.

Standing as the largest, high-level, technically in-depth meeting on SME financing, the Global SME Finance Forum will also announce the winners of the Global SME Finance Awards, which recognize outstanding achievements of financial institutions and fintech companies in delivering innovative products and services to their SME clients.