Easier Access to Finance for SMEs in Vietnam

8:57:45 AM | 5/17/2023

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Switzerland signed a co-financing agreement of up to US$5 million to develop financial technologies (fintech) that can help address low financial inclusion in Vietnam, particularly among small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This funding, along with a US$2 million contribution from the Japan Fund for Prosperous and Resilient Asia and the Pacific, financed by the Government of Japan, will support a technical assistance project that aims to expand inclusive and climate finance in the country.

Fintech has been at the center of the Vietnamese government’s plans to expand financial services to consumers and SMEs. The technical assistance will help the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) to strengthen the regulatory framework for digital finance, build the capacity of government and other industry stakeholders, and assist financial institutions to develop digital banking.

Nearly 80% of Vietnam’s population is unbanked or underbanked. Microenterprises and SMEs are particularly affected, with their unmet financing need estimated at VND500 trillion (US$21 billion). Women-owned and women-led SMEs are even more adversely affected. Women entrepreneurs in Vietnam have estimated US$1.2 billion but few banks have taken active measures to pursue this market opportunity. The technical assistance will help advance women’s access to finance, including through the provision of training opportunities on fintech and green banking best practices to SBV staff, targeting 25% female participation, as well as consulting services to women-owned and women-led SMEs on preparing green loan applications.

The technical assistance will also help the SBV refine its policies on green banking and communicate them to finance sector stakeholders. Green banking is poised to help Vietnam achieve the US$11 billion annual financing needed to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

By Anh Mai, Vietnam Business Forum