Access to Finance by Small and Medium Enterprises: a Cross-Country Analysis with A New Data Set


  • The copyright in the submission version of this article is owned by the World Bank.

Address for Correspondence: IFC Access to Finance Advisory, 2121 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20433, USA. E-mail: The authors would like to thank Maximilien Heimann, Joyce Ibrahim and Kristine Cronin for research assistance.


Access to finance has always been a challenge for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), but the need to address this issue became more pronounced after the global financial crisis, as SMEs are perceived as engines of growth and job creation. However, lack of consistent indicators for SME finance at the country level restricts cross-country analyses. The present paper introduces a supply-side data set to fill this gap, and provides the first set of analyses with this new data set. Global SME lending volume is predicted as $US10tn, 70% of which is in high-income OECD countries. On average, SME loans constitute 13 and 3% of GDP in developed and developing countries, respectively.