Short Term Consultancy for the CBC Digital Financial Inclusion Plan for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME): Business Case for Regional Payments Policy for MSMEs

The COMESA Business Council (CBC) is the recognized Business Member Organization, established as a private sector institution of COMESA. We represent the interests of businesses sectors at a regional level. The services provided go beyond advocacy, to actively promote business participation in regional integration, investment and global trade. This is done by facilitating the growth of strong business synergies, the development of business opportunities, business alliances, legislative and strategic advocacy. We provide custom tailored services that are driven by both industry and enterprise interests.

CBC seeks to develop the COMESA MSMEs Digital Financial Inclusion Plan. The goal of this project is to support the design, development and deployment of an integrated digital financial services infrastructure that is low-cost, interoperable and fraud resistant that serves Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) with a keen focus on women and youth, and the customers they transact with at the bottom of the financial pyramid. This would be first developed from a regulatory focus approach, to the business model and finally the actual operational and technical establishment. The regulatory focus will be through the development of a business case study for an integrated digital payment scheme. The study will inform a common payments policy for MSMEs that offers low transaction costs for domestic and regional digital payments thereby improving cross border trade.

The business case and policy framework will form a foundation for the establishment of development of the business model, governance and operational aspects of a regional common payment scheme for cross border financial transactions that are affordable, with minimal charges and available to the micro SMEs. This is a direct response mechanism to the needs of this market segment. Further to this, a system such as this will strengthen volumes of cross border transactions and increase visibility of African products within regional markets. This will directly respond to the intra- trade deficit in the region.

The overall expected results and impact of the Project are as follows;

  • Harmonised common payment policy for MSMEs in the COMESA region.
  • Increased intra- regional trade through the formalization of MSMEs in particular, cross border traders, small scale farmers and women entrepreneurs into digital financial services.
  • Increased sustainability of MSMEs through efficient and competitive platforms that promote volumes of products and services across borders at minimal costs to informal industry. This in turn creates increased demand, larger market shares for MSMEs and job creation.

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