Dr. Azeta Cungu, Policy Officer from Social Policies and Rural Institutions Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nation, Rome participated in the APRACA-Bank of Ceylon Policy forum on ‘Financing Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises: Solutions for the Missing Middle’ held during 8-9 October in Colombo, Sri Lanka. Dr. Cungu also participated in the Executive Committee meeting of APRACA and observed the proceedings as Ex-Officio member representing FAO in the Executive Committee of APRACA. Dr. Azeta Cungu noted the following s when she was interviewed by the media in Colombo:
Dr. Azeta Cungu participated in 70th APRACA Executive Committee Meeting Representing FAO as the Ex-officio Member of the Committee in Columbo, Sri Lanka.
I learnt a great deal about the challenges, advancements and critical issues that the region is facing in improving financial provision for MSMEs, the so-called “missing middle”. I was impressed with the level of representation at the event what bears witness to the importance and attention that Sri Lankan authorities and APRACA members place on this issue.
The Regional Policy Forum on “Financing Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises: Solutions for the Missing Middle” provided an opportunity for countries and regional institutions to exchange views, discuss experiences and highlight solutions that can inform the creation of a context that promotes and incentivizes positive change in financial provision for the MSMEs sector.
Change requires an awareness of the need for it to take place, a vision of what should be achieved, incentives to promote a move in the desired direction and capacities of actors to internalize and implement the necessary adjustments. Enabling policies, regulatory frameworks and strengthened capacities become essential ingredients for supporting the change processes on many dimensions including on improving risk sharing, the overall business environment and putting in place incentives for more adequate MSMEs financing. In my opinion, the Regional Policy Forum provided important insights on how to take this agenda forward in terms of policy-making, institutional strengthening, human resource development, etc.