International Organisations

A. Global agencies and platforms working on MSMEs

Organisation Description/areas of involvement with MSMEs Examples of current MSME-related activities
International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) ICC is taking action to ensure that MSMEs worldwide have good tools and access to capital.

ICC TRADE NOW connects SMEs with providers of financing services.

The CCI Entrepreneurship Center gives learners the skills they need to become entrepreneurs.

ICC launched a Safe Our SMEs (SOS) website that calls on governments, private sector leaders and international institutions to ensure the continued viability of MSMEs.

International Labour Organization (ILO) ILO provide principally advisory services on MSME policies. The ILO’s Small and Medium Enterprises Unit seeks to unlock the potential of creating more and better jobs in small businesses. The unit's work focuses on four key areas: Entrepreneurship and Management Skills, Access to Markets, Enabling Environment for Sustainable Enterprises and Productivity and Working Conditions.348
International Finance Corporation (IFC) IFC, through its programmes, promotes reforms that support and allow private sector development to flourish. It provides investment and advisory services to MSMEs in about 80 countries and focuses on every phase of MSME development: investment-climate reform, building management skills, access to finance, and access to markets.

IFC’s MSME investment and advisory portfolio extends over six regions globally, with a focus on assisting MSME development in low-income and frontier countries.

IFC provides policy recommendations and financing, including through the SME Finance Fund, to increase access to finance for MSMEs in a sustainable and scalable manner and supporting efforts to promote the spread of new modes of financial service delivery.349

International Monetary Fund (IMF) Through its publications, the IMF contributes to identifying the constraints and policies most likely to influence MSMEs' access to finance and the main priorities for closing the financial inclusion gap for MSMEs. IMF analysis shows that economic fundamentals and financial sector characteristics, such as macroeconomic stability, limited public sector size (to avoid crowding out MSME access to credit), financial sector soundness, a competitive banking system and, more broadly, a competitive and open economy are important factors to boost MSME access to finance.350
International Trade Center (ITC) ITC focuses on trade promotion which encompasses MSMEs. It has also developed new competencies in specific specialized aspects of trade policy and regulation in areas related to business advocacy and business participation in the trading system. The Joint Integrated Technical Assistance Programme (JITAP) through which UNCTAD, WTO and ITC provide Trade Related Technical Assistance (TRTA) to selected LDCs and African countries, mainly focusing on building their capacity to participate in the multilateral trading system.351
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) The OECD provides data and analysis to develop policies that foster MSMEs and entrepreneurship and facilitate sustainable growth, competitiveness and the creation of skilled jobs. It covers six main areas of work including MSME productivity, financing MSMEs, MSME digitalization, entrepreneurship, G20 & SMEs.

The OECD hosts forums to discuss MSME issues, such as the 2018 SME Ministerial Meeting.352

The OECD also has an active research series on SMEs and Entrepreneurship, the OECD Studies on SMEs and Entrepreneurship. This series covers not only OECD states, but also investigates policy in developing economies, such as recent studies on Viet Nam (2021) and Indonesia (2018).

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) While UNCTAD works mainly with governments, to effectively deal with the magnitude and complexity of meeting the Sustainable Development Goals, it believes that partnerships and closer cooperation with the private sector and civil society are essential.

UNCTAD’s EMPRETEC is a flagship capacity-building programme for the promotion of entrepreneurship and MSMEs to facilitate sustainable development and inclusive growth.

UNCTAD’s ISAR Corporate Transparency Accounting is the Intergovernmental Working Group of Experts on International Standards of Accounting and Reporting which assists developing countries and economies in transition in the implementation of best practices for accounting and corporate governance.

UNCTAD Insurance Programme assists developing countries and countries with economies in transition to set up insurance capacity, competitive and well-regulated insurance markets and human resources development.

Under UNCTAD’s Business Facilitation Programme, the agency provides a number of online tools and suggested policies to improve the business, investment and trade climate354.

United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) The mission of UNIDO is to promote and accelerate inclusive and sustainable industrial development (ISID) in Member States. UNIDO’s Business, Investment and Technology Services Branch (BIT) supports capacity- building initiatives, partnerships, and the sharing of knowledge and best practices to promote private sector development in manufacturing industries, with particular emphasis on improving the competitiveness of enterprises, mobilizing investments, and facilitating access to appropriate technologies355.
World Bank A key area of the World Bank Group’s work is to improve MSMEs’ access to finance and find innovative solutions to unlock funds.

The World Bank finance sector assessments to determine areas of improvement in regulatory and policy aspects enabling increased responsible MSME access to finance (MSME Lines of Credit, Partial Credit Guarantee Schemes, Early-Stage Innovation Finance (box 7).

It Improves credit infrastructure which can lead to greater MSME access to finance. It Introduces innovation in MSME finance such as e-lending platforms, use of alternative data for credit decisioning, e-invoicing, e-factoring and supply chain financing. It provides policies, analytical work and other Advisory Services in support of MSME finance activities. Finally, it supports Women-Owned SMEs.

World Trade Organization (WTO) The WTO is the only international organization dealing with the global rules of trade. Its main function is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible. WTO initiatives include an Informal Working Group on MSMEs launched at the 11th Ministerial Conference in December 2017 which aims to identify and address obstacles to MSME participation in international trade. It currently consists of 91 WTO members and is open to all members. A Global Trade Helpdesk online platform simplifies market research for companies, especially MSMEs, by integrating trade and business information into a single online portal. A Working Group on Trade, Debt and Finance looks into how trade-related measures can contribute to solving the problems of debt faced by developing countries and how to improve the availability of trade finance, notably for MSMEs. On Intellectual property, WTO members exchange information about their policies aimed at supporting MSMEs' creativity, inventiveness and investments in research and technology356


B. Regional and subregional organizations and platforms working on MSMEs

Organisation Description/areas of involvement with MSMEs Examples of current MSME-related activities
Asian Development Bank (ADB) The ADB produces a number of publications, projects and reports dealing with MSMEs issues, such as infrastructure support, access to finance, technologies development and MSMEs policy frameworks. It also organizes events with government authorities, financial authorities and business associations to discuss about MSMEs development and access to finance. ADB created the Asia Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise Monitor as key resource for policy makers working on MSMEs development in Asia and the Pacific. Volume 1 of the Monitor provides data and analysis on MSMEs issues and opportunities, volume 2 deals with the impact of Covid-19 on MSMEs in Asia, volume 3 concerns the financial technology loans and volume 4 focuses on MSMEs development and access to finance. The 2020 Launch Seminar for this product exposed the lessons learned from the ASM in accelerating MSMEs dynamics for revitalizing national economies.357
Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is a multilateral development bank with a mission to improve social and economic outcomes in Asia. The Bank has provided Kyrgyzstan loan support to help address the urgent liquidity pressures faced by its MSMEs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.358
Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) ASEAN is dedicated to preparing ASEAN MSMEs to build immunities from disruptive technologies and embrace the opportunities to advance towards a Digital ASEAN through collaborative interventions. In April 2020, ASEAN Leaders convened the Special ASEAN Summit on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). In June 2020, ASEAN kicked off the “Go Digital ASEAN” initiative.
Asia-Pacific Economic Community (APEC) APEC calls for economies to intensify cooperation, further promote market access, embrace the digital economy and address challenges for small businesses to digital.

APEC’s Small and Medium Enterprises Working Group (SMEWG) works to encourage the development of MSMEs and to build their capacity to engage in international trade.359 SMEWG strategic plan address critical issues on the growth of MSMEs in the APEC region.

The Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) The Commission of the Eurasian Economic Union ensures free movement of goods, services, labor and capital between states by providing policies. A project office has been set up to support agricultural projects that are promising and beneficial to the business of the Union States, including MSMEs, in order to attract investments from international financial institutions in the projects.
The United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) The United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) makes public and private finance work for the poor in the world’s 47 LDCs. UNCDF offers “last mile” finance models that unlock public and private resources, especially at the domestic level, to reduce poverty and support local economic development.

In the area of MSME financing, UNCDF, in collaboration with ESCAP, launched an Innovation Fund on digital solutions for MSMEs in Asia-Pacific.

Current UNCDF work also addresses the COVID-19 pandemic that has had an unprecedented impact on LDCs 360.


C. Bilateral technical assistance schemes and programmes on MSME development

Organisation Description/areas of involvement with MSMEs Examples of current MSME-related activities
The Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) It provides services in the field of international development cooperation. It strengthens MSMEs, promotes business relations, including those with medium-sized and large international companies, and assists firms in the developing countries in complying with social and environmental standards. GIZ has a number of MSME projects in the Asia- Pacific, particularly in Sri Lanka, ASEAN, Southern Lao PDR and Bangladesh362
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) The United States Agency for International Development through its Economic Growth and Trade initiative works to address poverty globally.

USAID has helped to mobilize up to $2.3 billion in private financing for more than 100,000 entrepreneurs around the world over the past 12 years, through USAID's Development Credit Authority, which uses partial credit guarantees to mobilize local financing and encourage private lenders to extend financing to new sectors and regions.

The USAID Linkages for SMEs (LinkSME) project aims to strengthen the supplier-buyer relationships between Vietnamese SMEs and foreign firms363.

Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) JETRO is a government-related organization promoting trade and investment between Japan and other countries. In the 21st century, the organization focuses on facilitating foreign direct investment in Japan and helping Japanese SMEs to maximize their export potential. JETRO supports the development of sales channels for Japanese MSMEs in overseas markets. It facilitates trade negotiations, the use of cross-border e-commerce, the development of border markets, the use of intellectual property and provides MSMEs individual support through the framework of Japan’s "Consortium for New Export Nation"364.
Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) JICA promotes international cooperation and Japan's socio-economic development by fostering economic growth and stability in developing countries. It provides effective support for the development of MSMEs by recommending policies, promoting trade and investment, enhancing the competitiveness of local enterprises and assisting local economies and industries. In 2020, JICA signed an investment commitment agreement for the "COVID-19 Emerging & Frontier Markets MSME Support Fund" to provide loans to microfinance institutions (MFIs) in developing countries. In the same year, the agency established a technical cooperation project for the establishment of a credit risk database (CRD) with the National Bank of the Philippines to help local MSMEs accessing finance365

348 For more information, visit the ILO website available at

349 For more information, visit the IFC website available at

350 For more information, visit the IMF website available at

351 For more information, visit the ITC website available at

352 For more information, visit the OECD website available at

353 See

354 For more information, visit the UNCTAD website available at

355 For more information, visit the BIT website available at

356 For more information, visit the WTO website available at

357 For more information, visit the ADB website available at

358 For more information, visit the ASEAN website available at

359 For more information, visit the APEC website available at

360 For more information, visit the UNCDF website available at

361 For more information, visit GIZ website available at

362 For more information, visit GIZ projects websites available at,,

363 For more information, visit USAID website available at

364 For more information, visit the JETRO website available at

365 For more information, visit the JICA website available at