NBC and Sathapana Bank to Discuss Financial Empowerment for Cambodian SMEs at 2024 Zurich Fintech Festival

Cambodia Investment Review

At the annual Fintech Festival held in Zurich, Switzerland from July 1st to 3rdthe Point Zero Forum once again provided a platform for innovation and collaboration focusing on Artificial Intelligence, ESG and Digital Money. Among the notable attendees were Mr. Jean-Pierre Gagnon, Deputy Governor of Sathapana Bank and His Excellency Sovannorak Rath, Deputy Governor of the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC), who participated in a roundtable discussion on Strengthening Financial Services for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

The event comes on the heels of the recent Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Singapore and Cambodia to establish a Financial Trade Corridor (FTC), which is expected to significantly boost trade and cross-border financial services for small and medium-sized enterprises, and mark a significant step towards integrating Cambodia into the international payment system.

Jean-Pierre Gagnon, Vice President of Sathapana Bank;

The Importance of Small and Medium Enterprises in Cambodia’s Socio-Economic Development

During the roundtable, Deputy Governor Sovannorak Rath highlighted the importance of SMEs in Cambodia’s socio-economic development. He discussed the challenges these businesses face, particularly access to financial services, and outlined the Cambodian government and NBC’s efforts to support SMEs. These efforts include introducing policies to promote local production and increase employment in the sector.

Read more: Cambodia and Singapore launch Financial Transparency Corridor to boost SME trade

“Our goal is to ensure that SMEs have the support they need to thrive,” said Minister Lert Sovannorak. “The UTC project, a collaboration between the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), aims to create a robust database to help SMEs address challenges, particularly accessing financial services from banks and financial institutions.”

Jean-Pierre Gagnon echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the importance of international collaboration. “The Zurich Fintech Festival has opened new doors for us to explore cutting-edge technologies and strategies that will revolutionize Cambodia’s financial sector,” he said. “Collaboration with international partners is key to driving innovative solutions that make financial services more accessible to underserved communities.”

Gagnon also highlighted Bank Sathapana’s commitment to financial inclusion and innovation. “Through such international exchanges, our efforts in financial inclusion and innovation will be strengthened, paving the way for a more connected and inclusive future,” he added.

The annual fintech festival will be held in Zurich, Switzerland from 1st to 3rd July and will host the Point Zero Forum.

Helping small businesses overcome barriers to accessing finance

The UTC project, launched by UNDP and MAS in collaboration with central banks in Asia, Africa and Europe, aims to improve the financial environment for businesses, especially SMEs. The project focuses on creating a comprehensive database to assist SMEs in overcoming barriers to financial access.

Read more: Sathapana Bank officially partners with Truemoney to turn all its agents into human ATMs

This roundtable discussion at the Point Zero Forum highlighted the important role that SMEs play in the Cambodian economy and the great strides being made to support their growth and development. With initiatives such as the FTC and UTC projects, Cambodia is well poised to strengthen its financial infrastructure and provide SMEs with the tools and resources they need to succeed on a global scale.

“The participation of Cambodia’s leadership in such a high-profile international forum underscores the country’s commitment to promoting a more inclusive financial system. As Cambodia continues to engage with global partners, the future looks bright for Cambodia’s small and medium-sized enterprises with improved access to financial services and increased opportunities for growth and development.”

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