ACCELERATING TRADE DIGITALIZATION TO SUPPORT MSME FINANCING

Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) are the backbone of the economy, representing 95 per cent of all companies worldwide and accounting for 60 per cent of employment. They are fundamental to the day-to-day provision of goods and services around the world. Yet many struggle to grow and trade. Among the many challenges that MSMEs face, a lack of access to finance, including trade finance, is frequently identified as a critical barrier to growth.

Digital technologies, from cloud computing to application programming interfaces, to the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence and distributed ledger technologies, open up a range of new opportunities for MSMEs.

The technology is there, making interesting promises. According to the ICC Global Survey 2020, 28 percent of banks are using OCR for data extraction and creating searchable documents.

OCR is also being used by various FinTech companies active in the trade digitalisation space, often in conjunction with other digital technologies, in particular AI and ML.

Traydstream is a cloud-based solution that digitises documentary trade (letters of credit, documentary collections and open account financing) into a machine-readable format, using ML to automate the scrutinising, clause-matching and rules- and compliance-checking processes.

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