Over 95 percent of the world's businesses are micro, small or medium sized enterprises (MSMEs). In Egypt, MSMEs make up over 95 percent of all firms and drive economic activity at 80 percent of GDP. In addition, they provide nearly 75 percent of total employment in the private sector.
Many MSMEs remain informal due to structural and regulatory obstacles, and as a consequence they become excluded from export and other growth opportunities. Policymakers and multilateral organisations now recognise the value of MSMEs to global development and cite access to finance as the biggest barrier to expansion. Yet, without appropriate physical and digital infrastructure, plus relevant education and training, MSMEs will still lack the enabling tools and skills to advance.
Digital technology can strengthen MSMEs by opening channels to showcase their goods and services and by creating global networks. Moreover, with an increased digital footprint, MSMEs can demonstrate their creditworthiness, unlocking financing. The challenge: How might we use technology and innovative financing to empower micro and small businesses to connect to regional and international markets?