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SMEs’ financial challenges in Western Balkans to go green?

Regional Policy Dialogue Meeting “SMEs in a Green Economy”, 09 March 2018, Paris
Session 3, "SMEs’ financial challenges in Western Balkans to go green?", Safet Gërxhaliu, Member of the Managing Board of Western Balkans Chambers Investment Forum

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SMEs’ financial challenges in Western Balkans to go green?

  1. 1. SMEs’ financial challenges in Western Balkans to go green? Safet Gërxhaliu, Member of the Managing Board of Western Balkans Chambers Investment Forum Paris, March 9th, 2018
  2. 2. Introduction • With a view of supporting and promoting economic dimension of the Berlin Process, the Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Serbia and Kosovo* Chamber of Commerce have proposed establishment of a regional platform that will facilitate closer cooperation among business communities in the region in other to promote economic development and regional cooperation. • On the margins of the Vienna summit, on 27 August 2015, the six chambers of commerce and industry of the Western Balkans, namely Union of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Albania, Foreign Trade Chamber of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Chamber of Commerce of Kosovo, Economic Chamber of Macedonia, Chamber of Economy of Montenegro and Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia, along with two chambers from the two EU member states, Croatian Chamber of Economy and Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Slovenia, under the auspices of the EUROCHAMBRES and with the support of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (WKO) and the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK), have established the Western Balkan Chamber Investment Forum (CIF). • * This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244/99 and the Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice on Kosovo’s declaration of independence.
  3. 3. About CIF CIF Mission • WB CIF represents the voice of over 350,000 companies, mostly small and medium-sized enterprises from the region. The platform serves the purpose of intensifying and concretization of the inter-chamber cooperation and conducting activities in the common interest of the business communities. • The mission of Chamber investment Forum is to provide more efficient involvement of business communities of the countries in the Region in the implementation of ongoing and planned infrastructure and other projects of importance for economic prosperity of the Western Balkans. CIF Goals (CIF’s main objectives are): • removing the obstacles to economic regional cooperation, • sustainable development of the WB region in the context of the EU integration • Improving business and investment climate in the region
  4. 4. Online platform on WB potential for investments: http://investinsee.com/
  5. 5. Introduction • The Green Action Plan (GAP) aims to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) take advantage of the opportunities offered by the transition to a green economy. It presents ways for SMEs to turn environmental challenges into business opportunities. The GAP aims to help businesses by: • improving productivity • driving down costs • supporting green entrepreneurship • developing European leadership in green processes and technologies. Emerging business opportunities in a green economy: • greening SMEs • green entrepreneurship • opportunities for SMEs in a greener value chain • access to markets for green SMEs.
  6. 6. WB countries • SMEs contribute significantly to growth, employment, innovation and social cohesion across the WB – and are also major drivers of sustainable development; • Mainly the challenges for the SME in the regional context are about the same; • However, bank finance remains the primary channel for SME finance in the WB. • Meanwhile, also considering other issues and obstacles of the region, WB countries are seeking to scale up green finance to address growth and sustainability challenges.
  7. 7. • In our region: SME finance and green finance agendas have not advanced in parallel. • Two key financing priorities emerging: 1. Green Performers: unlocking finance for conventional SMEs to improve their sustainability performance. 2. Green Innovators: allocating finance for SMEs who are focused on expanding sales of green goods and services.
  8. 8. Green finance challenges
  9. 9. Common barriers to SME finance (small volumes, high transaction costs, collateral issues, risk profiles) can be compounded for green SMEs: • – Data: a lack of robust data on the green financing needs of SMEs among banks and other financial institutions. • – Risk: incomplete integration of environmental performance into the assessment of risks facing SME funding decisions. • – Product: limited green financing products across enterprise life cycles (i.e. early stage), or linked to opportunities (i.e. energy efficiency). • – Institutional: insufficient diversity of financial institutions offering long-term patient capital for the green finance needs of SMEs. • – Awareness and Capacity: low awareness of cost-saving potential of green investments, lacking technical capacity and financial literacy.
  10. 10. • Five main channels through which public and private institutions have to mobilize green finance for SMEs: • 1. Development Finance: Central to promotion of green SME finance, with instruments ranging from green lending to venture funds, technical support • 2. Banking: Commercial and stakeholder banks are increasing sustainability commitments across loan books, seeking to target positive impacts • 3. Debt Markets: Issuance of green bonds aggregating SME loans, securitization of green loans into asset-backed securities, issuance of mini- bonds. • 4. Impact Investing: Strategies targeting SMEs delivering social, environmental and financial returns, leveraging private equity and venture capital financing models • 5. Fintech: Newest source of green finance innovations for SMEs, helping to improve the efficiency of capital intermediation, with the potential for significant impacts