OAS MSME Newsletter: ( March 2024):

This OAS MSME Newsletter is published by the Department of Economic Development of the Executive Secretariat for Integral Development (SEDI). It is dedicated to measures recently announced by OAS Member States to drive the economic recovery of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). The policy responses vary from country to country and are specific to the economic circumstances of each Member State. Given that every day produces new developments, this inventory is in no way exhaustive.

Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) Project – WEE Business Formalization Toolkits

These business formalization toolkits are a roadmap for women-led and women-owned micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the Eastern Caribbean. They were designed to empower women to make informed decisions for themselves and their businesses.

Country Policy Responses

The CNV and CAME agree to promote SME financing

The CNV (National Securities Commission) and CAME (Argentine Confederation of Medium Enterprises) have agreed to promote SME financing by fostering financial education and connecting SMEs to capital market instruments as a financing alternative. Highlighting the issue, CAME’s head mentioned that only 3% of Argentina’s financial activity is directed towards SME financing, which is considerably low. Both entities plan to undertake joint actions throughout the year, including workshops in various provinces and a training program focused on capital market instruments, their benefits, and how they can be utilized for financing. 

The National Government announced financing to strengthen the agro-industrial sector

The Argentine National Government, through the Secretariat of Industry and Productive Development, announced at ExpoAgro the launch of a novel credit line measured in liters of milk for SME dairy farmers and leasing for new and used agricultural machinery. This initiative aims to provide predictability and improve investment conditions for dairy farmers by adjusting loan repayments to the market price of milk. Additionally, BICE introduced a leasing program for used agricultural machinery with favorable terms, alongside other financial supports to strengthen the agro-industrial sector, including significant credits for the acquisition of agro-industrial machinery and water efficiency projects for vineyard producers and wineries. 

CAME consolidates its presence in Brazil in favor of the internationalization of Argentine SMEs.

The Confederation of Medium Enterprises (CAME) is expanding its efforts in Brazil to promote the internationalization of Argentine SMEs. Since 2022, CAME has been active in Brazil, and its General Secretary participated in a meeting with SEBRAE Paraná’s board, emphasizing support for Argentine SMEs’ global market entry. CAME will also participate in the 2024 Expo Apras and open a Permanent Exhibition Center in Curitiba. Over 50 Argentine companies will join Expo Apras, showcasing their products and strengthening economic ties between the countries. 

Investment Climate Statement (ICS)

The Investment Climate Statement for Belize outlines the country’s economic landscape, highlighting a GDP of $2.57 billion in 2022 and a significant reduction in public debt. The government has encouraged FDI for economic growth, with substantial investments in tourism and agriculture. Belize launched a National Investment Policy and Strategy and a MSME Strategy to enhance investment frameworks. It has no restrictions on foreign ownership but requires registration with the Central Bank.

The government strengthens and supports micro and small businesses in El Alto to improve productivity.

The Bolivian government, through the Ministry of Productive Development and Plural Economy and PRO-BOLIVIA, is enhancing and supporting micro and small enterprises (MSEs) in El Alto to improve productivity. This effort, part of the PROMYPE Phase 2 project, involves equipment and machinery transfers, training, technical assistance, financial credit access, and commercial fair promotions. From 2021 to 2023, 240 production units received equipment and machinery, and 160 MSEs were supported with training in various sectors, with an investment exceeding 3.2 million Bolivianos. 

Chile and Mexico have agreed to modernize their economic and trade agreement by adding new chapters focused on gender and MSMEs (Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises).

At the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization in Abu Dhabi, Chile and Mexico signed terms of reference for modernizing their Free Trade Agreement, in effect since 1999. The upgrade includes new chapters focused on Trade and Gender, and Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), aiming for a more inclusive and equitable agreement. This move marks an important milestone in their bilateral relationship, celebrating 25 years of the agreement’s enforcement and addressing current needs, particularly emphasizing women and MSMEs. 

Minister of Finance meets with small business associations to discuss the Tax Compliance Project and Income Tax Reform as part of the Growth Pact.

In a recent meeting at the Ministry of Finance, representatives from small business associations discussed the Tax Compliance Project and Income Tax Reform, integral to the Growth Pact. the Ministry outlined the goal to raise 2.7% of GDP for public benefits, with the project aiming for 1.5% of GDP. Key measures include simplifying business closure processes for SMEs and requiring activity start proofs. Future discussions will focus on new entrepreneurship routes, including simplified tax regimes and benefits for SMEs and startups. 

Chile concludes its participation in the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization, highlighting progress in investment facilitation and MSMEs.

The 13th WTO Ministerial Conference concluded in Abu Dhabi, with Chile playing a significant role. The conference reaffirmed commitments to WTO reforms, dispute resolution systems, and support for developing and least developed countries. Chile led proposals on women’s economic empowerment and MSMEs’ global trade participation. 

The Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Tourism and Bancóldex in Colombia have introduced credit lines totaling $340 billion COP aimed at revitalizing MSMEs. 

The Colombian Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Tourism, along with Bancóldex, announced credit lines worth $340 billion COP to stimulate the growth of MSMEs. This initiative, part of the “Colombia se Reactiva” portfolio, aims to boost the economy by supporting MSMEs in modernization, adopting sustainable practices, internationalization, and growth of women-led businesses. 

The MAATE invites MSMEs to join the “Join the Climate Action” initiative under the Ecuador Carbon Zero Program (PECC).

The Ecuadorian Ministry of Environment invites MSMEs to join the “Join the Climate Action” call under the Ecuador Carbon Zero Program (PECC). Currently, 395 organizations voluntarily participate, with 56 obtaining Carbon Footprint Quantification or Certification. The initiative aims to promote carbon footprint management among MSMEs, representing 99.5% of registered companies in Ecuador, highlighting the government’s commitment to strengthening climate action. The call includes support for selected companies to quantify and verify their organizational carbon footprint with international cooperation aid. 

MSMEs strengthened with new Ministry of Economy headquarters in Sololá.

The Ministry of Economy in Guatemala inaugurated a new departmental headquarters in Sololá, enhancing support for local MSMEs through specialized advisory, training, and commercial linkage services. This move aims to promote the business environment and foster greater economic inclusion, supporting indigenous communities, women, entrepreneurs, and businesses in general. With over 3,000 economic units registered in Sololá, this initiative will bolster local business growth and competitiveness. 

Improved Access to Microfinance by MSMEs

A project in Jamaica aims to improve micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises’ (MSMEs) access to finance, allocated $822 million for the upcoming fiscal year. Managed by the Development Bank of Jamaica and funded by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, it targets enhancing credit facilities, SME risk capital financing, and supporting business development services, with achievements including fund injections and technical assistance platforms.  


Minister of Industry, Development and Commerce emphasized the importance of MSMEs to Jamaica’s economy, highlighting recent economic growth and low unemployment rates. Minister discussed initiatives aimed at increasing MSME formalization and compliance with tax regulations, noting the significant number of MSMEs in Jamaica. The government is committed to supporting MSME growth through various programs, including national consultations and competitions, to address digitalization, inclusion, and access to finance challenges. 

PM Urges MSMEs to Apply for DBJ’s Innovation Grant

Prime Minister encourages MSMEs in Jamaica to apply for the Development Bank of Jamaica’s (DBJ) Innovation Grant. This opportunity, part of the BIGEE program, is designed to support entities in integrating technology to enhance their operations. The initiative aims to foster growth by offering grants for app development, animation, and more, aiming to build a foundation for business expansion. 

Training for the Strengthening of MSMEs: Sustainable and Resilient Supply Chains in Mexico

The training program aims to boost the productive and sustainable development of MSMEs in Mexico by enhancing digital literacy and transformation, business innovation, and reducing the environmental impact of business activities. It targets MSMEs in the agribusiness, manufacturing, health, and tourism sectors located in Nuevo León, Mexico City, and Chihuahua. The program, which runs from February 26 to June 7, 2024, offers 200 scholarships to leaders and employees of 100 MSMEs.  

Chile and Mexico have agreed to modernize their economic and trade agreement by adding new chapters focused on gender and MSMEs (Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises).

At the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization in Abu Dhabi, Chile and Mexico signed terms of reference for modernizing their Free Trade Agreement, in effect since 1999. The upgrade includes new chapters focused on Trade and Gender, and Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), aiming for a more inclusive and equitable agreement. This move marks an important milestone in their bilateral relationship, celebrating 25 years of the agreement’s enforcement and addressing current needs, particularly emphasizing women and MSMEs. 

Nafin adds support for MSMEs for savings and efficient use of electrical energy.

Nacional Financiera (Nafin) in Mexico has launched the Sustainable Eco Credit program, providing up to 15 million pesos in financing for MSMEs to purchase and install high-efficiency and renewable technologies. This initiative aims to foster energy savings and efficient electrical energy use, with a fixed annual interest rate of 16% over the credit life and grace periods up to six months. 

SEDECO and Alibaba sign an agreement to promote e-commerce and digitalization for MSMEs in the capital.

SEDECO and Alibaba signed an agreement to boost eCommerce and digitalization among MSMEs in Mexico City. The partnership will offer online training to enhance digital and marketing skills, with more than 8,000 local businesses in commerce and manufacturing sectors, employing about 270,000 people, set to benefit. The initiative aims to improve competitiveness and market presence of MSMEs both locally and internationally. 

Signing of a Loan Agreement with Global Bank Corporation in Panama (sponsored by JICA’s Private Sector Investment Finance Division): “Financial Inclusion and Regional Disparities Improvement Project.”

The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) has signed a loan agreement with Panama’s Global Bank Corporation, providing up to $50 million to improve micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises’ (MSMEs) access to financing in Panama. This project aims to promote economic empowerment of women and the agricultural sector, marking JICA’s first Private Sector Investment Finance project in Panama. 

The MSME Observatory will be introduced to craft evidence-based public policies.

Paraguay’s Ministry of Industry and Commerce will launch the MSME Observatory to develop evidence-based public policies. This tool aims to collect and analyze data on micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises, focusing on formalization, access to financing, and market access. This initiative seeks to bolster the core of Paraguay’s economy, as MSMEs comprise 98% of the business fabric, playing a key role in innovation, employment, and growth. 

AFD participates in the closing of the MIPYME COMPITE 2023 results.

In the MIPYME COMPITE 2023 program, 88 MSMEs received technical assistance, achieving a significant 50% reduction in energy consumption through efficient practices, enhancing their competitiveness, quality, innovation, and environmental management. This program, supported by the European Union and developed by UNIDO and the UIP, represents a potential SME market opportunity for the AFD, showing a greater business culture and openness to financing options. 

Around 300 companies were supported by centers of the Vice Ministry of MSMEs

Around 300 MSMEs were supported by the SBDC centers of the Vice Ministry of MSMEs in Paraguay, aiming to strengthen this economic sector. The initiative, incorporating the American SBDC methodology, focuses on enhancing the business environment and providing comprehensive support to entrepreneurs. The centers, located in San Lorenzo and Encarnación, offer long-term business advising to promote sustainable and inclusive economic growth. 

The MSME sector in Paraguay grew by 35%, with plans to enhance support in formalization and access to credit.

In Paraguay, MSMEs experienced a 35% growth in 2023, mainly through increased formalization. The MSME Observatory, introduced by the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, offers insights into this sector, aiming to prioritize public policy areas. With a total of 366,977 MSMEs at year’s end, efforts focus on enhancing formalization, financial system access, and market participation, especially in public procurement where the state remains a major buyer. 

Saint Kitts and Nevis Ambassador Advocates Tech Empowerment for MSMEs at International Conference in Washington D.C

As part of official duties as Chair of the Inter-American Council for Integral Development, Saint Kitts and Nevis Ambassador/Permanent Representative to the OAS, delivered remarks at the International Conference “Expanding International Market Opportunities for Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs)” held at the US Chamber of Commerce in Washington D.C. The Ambassador advocated for empowering MSMEs through technology. She emphasized the critical role of connectivity and technology as catalysts for economic growth and highlighted the importance of enabling entrepreneurs to thrive in the digital economy. 

Unlocking the potential of youth

Prime Minister of Saint Lucia encourages youth to utilize government programs such as the Youth Economy Agency and the MSME Loan-Grant Facility for personal and professional development. These initiatives aim to empower young entrepreneurs and contribute to the country’s economic growth. The programs provide resources, training, and financial support, including soft loans and grants. 

Community Business Revitalization Project officially launched in Fond St. Jacques

The Community Business Revitalization Project was officially launched in Fond St. Jacques, Saint Lucia, featuring the first of four community business centers aimed at promoting local products and services. The project, backed by the Taiwanese government, seeks to boost tourism and support MSMEs through product development and integrated marketing. 

The Ministry of Industry, Energy, and Mining (MIEM) in Uruguay contributed to the organization of the Entrepreneur Club in Durazno and Florida

The Ministry of Industry, Energy, and Mining (MIEM) in Uruguay participated in planning the Entrepreneur Club of Durazno and Florida. This workshop, attended by seven institutions and twenty entrepreneurs, aimed to set work guidelines for 2024, focusing on matching supply with demand by identifying needs. 

Montevideo will host the VIII Italy-Latin America SME Forum.

Montevideo will host the VIII Italy-Latin America SME Forum from April 15 to 17, 2024. This event is a key dialogue platform on public policy, business opportunities, and technological collaborations focused on micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and sustainable regional development. The forum will cover five thematic areas, aiming to foster business meetings and collaborative opportunities among MSMEs from 20 countries in the region and Italy.