20 August 2020- The International Finance Corporation (IFC), member of the World Bank Group, and the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), that aims to expand access to finance for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU), through a Secured Transactions Collateral Registry Programme.
Through the MOU, the IFC and the ECCB will establish the groundwork for a common legal framework that will allow small and medium-sized business owners throughout the ECCU to use movable assets as collateral when seeking finance. These assets include: machinery, crops and accounts receivables.
The objective is to create a centralised, shared registry in the region, following international standards established by the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), that can be customised to each country’s particular case.
Speaking at a virtual ceremony held to symbolise the signing of the MOU, Judith Green, IFC Regional Manager for the Caribbean stated that, “Financial inclusion continues to be a pressing issue throughout the Caribbean.” She said that having strong, modern credit infrastructure will help to increase the types of credit products available to both individuals and SMEs.
Governor of the ECCB, Timothy N. J. Antoine welcomed the MOU, noting that it was consistent with the ECCB’s Strategic Plan 2017-2021, for a stronger and more diversified financial system. He remarked: “the ECCB recognises the power and promise of small businesses in respect of both job creation and innovation and is committed to building out a modern credit ecosystem that supports SMEs especially for women and youth”.
As part of the MOU, the ECCB and the IFC will also co-host knowledge sharing and capacity building initiatives with representatives from the government, financial sector and relevant parties across the region.
The Memorandum of Understanding was subscribed by Judith Green as IFC Regional Manager for the Caribbean, and Governor of the ECCB, Timothy N. J. Antoine.