Kenya’s quest to improve understanding of SME finance

I was privileged to participate in an ‘SME Day‘ which brought together leading economists and entrepreneurs in Nairobi in December 2015, on a quest to improve understanding of SME finance. Whilst SME loans represent almost a quarter of total loans in Kenya, innovation in the sector has been slow, a status quo that is difficult to change due to a lack of data across the board.

SME Day was convened by FSD-Kenya, and used findings from FinAccess Business, a research project conducted jointly by FSD-Kenya, the World Bank, and the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), to improve understanding of both the supply and demand sides of the heterogeneous SME market.

Amidst discussions about the knowledge sector, and its implications for Kenya’s productivity, and a deep dive into the key factors driving both supply and demand for SME finance, I also contributed a presentation that highlighted the specific needs and risks of growth orientated SMEs, as by more effectively understanding the SME sector, finance can be geared more effectively promoted and delivered. Detailed case studies of two successful Kenyan SMEs served to bring the fundamental principles of my presentation to life, and the full powerpoint presentation can be downloaded here.