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ITC, a United Nations Capital Development Fund partner to unlock financing for women, youth and small businesses

by Business News Report

The International Trade Centre ITC,  and the United Nations Capital Development Fund UNCDF, have strengthened their partnership to promote sustainable financial solutions for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises MSMEs. ITC and UNCDF will focus on supporting businesses in frontier markets, emerging economies and least developed countries. The heads of the two organisations signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Geneva, Switzerland, on the sidelines of the Building Bridges Summit, which aims to promote sustainable finance in Switzerland and around the world.

The organisations will work together to unlock financing for MSMEs to help advance the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Priority areas include women’s economic empowerment through access to financing, investments and innovative markets; support for youth entrepreneurship, employment and professional skills through investments and technical assistance; and enhance the capacity of MSMEs to compete in local, regional and global markets. This last area will focus on innovation, digitisation and the development of the private sector. The partnership seeks to leverage the economic and financial capabilities of two United Nations entities. ITC supports sustainable and inclusive development by boosting the competitiveness of MSMEs, putting trade-led growth at the centre of public policy, and building supportive business ecosystems in developing countries. UNCDF will build on its unique role in the United Nations Development System as a hybrid development finance institution/development agency, offering a suite of financing capabilities, including grants, technical assistance, loans, guarantees, bonds and instruments.

Other areas of collaboration include support for the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Frameworks, which are instruments for planning and implementing United Nations development activities at the country level. ITC and UNCDF will also engage in joint resource mobilisation efforts, especially at the country level, to boost development support and investment in MSMEs. Quotes “Lack of access to finance is one of the main challenges faced by small businesses, especially in developing countries. Through this partnership with UNCDF, we are addressing that challenge, so that women and young entrepreneurs around the world have the opportunity to grow their businesses and enter new markets.”

Pamela Coke-Hamilton, Executive Director, International Trade Center “UNCDF and ITC have already been partners in the areas of youth economic empowerment, confronting climate change and impact investing. This MoU is a natural extension of our previous work, and we are proud to work so closely with our sister UN entity. MSMEs are not only recipients of sustainable financing. They can also be engines of sustainable finance; for youth, women and communities in frontier markets, emerging economies and LDCs. ITC and UNCDF are clearly capable of supporting Member Countries on their journey towards the SDGs. Together, we will ensure that impact capital for development is in sight.” Preeti Sinha, Executive Secretary, UNCDF

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