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Mr. Nicolas R Blancher, Maximiliano Appendino, Aidyn Bibolov, Mr. Armand Fouejieu, Mr. Jiawei Li, Anta Ndoye, Alexandra Panagiotakopoulou, Wei Shi, and Tetyana Sydorenko

through increased access to financing for SMEs. Productivity and employment gains from increased access to financing are higher for SMEs than for large firms. Beck and others (2008) suggest that better financial intermediation exerts a disproportionately positive impact on growth in industries with a larger share of small firms. Ayyagari and others (2016) show that the impact on employment is stronger among micro, small and medium enterprises than among larger firms. Taking the introduction of credit bureaus in a sample of 70 developing economies as a positive

Mr. Nicolas R Blancher, Maximiliano Appendino, Aidyn Bibolov, Mr. Armand Fouejieu, Mr. Jiawei Li, Anta Ndoye, Alexandra Panagiotakopoulou, Wei Shi, and Tetyana Sydorenko
The importance of financial inclusion is increasingly recognized by policymakers around the world. Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) financial inclusion, in particular, is at the core of the economic diversification and growth challenges many countries are facing. In the Middle East and Central Asia (MENAP and CCA) regions, SMEs represent an important share of firms, but the regions lag most others in terms of SME access to financing.
Ms. Inutu Lukonga
Policy makers in the MENAP region have been formulating policies and designing programs to develop small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) with a view to create jobs and achieve inclusive growth. But while the programs have helped increase the number of enterprises, growth of SMEs continues to face barriers to growth. As a result, microenterprises predominate and SMEs contribution to employment remains below potential. Partial implementation of reforms explain some of the underperformance, but frictions in strategy design also played an important role. Sustaining current reforms is, therefore, not sufficient to achieve inclusive growth. Digital technologies have potential to boost SMEs productivity and growth and economies are rapidly digitalizing, thus SMEs need to embrace digital solutions to compete and survive. Therefore, for SMEs to be effective engines of inclusive growth, a rethinking of the SME development strategy is needed that makes SMEs’ digital transformation a priority.
Ms. Inutu Lukonga

Policy makers in the MENAP region have been formulating policies and designing programs to develop small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) with a view to create jobs and achieve inclusive growth. But while the programs have helped increase the number of enterprises, growth of SMEs continues to face barriers to growth. As a result, microenterprises predominate and SMEs contribution to employment remains below potential. Partial implementation of reforms explain some of the underperformance, but frictions in strategy design also played an important role. Sustaining current reforms is, therefore, not sufficient to achieve inclusive growth. Digital technologies have potential to boost SMEs productivity and growth and economies are rapidly digitalizing, thus SMEs need to embrace digital solutions to compete and survive. Therefore, for SMEs to be effective engines of inclusive growth, a rethinking of the SME development strategy is needed that makes SMEs’ digital transformation a priority.

Mariana Colacelli and Mr. Gee Hee Hong

Front Matter Page Asia Pacific Department Contents Abstract A. Introduction B. Data Description and Summary Statistics C. Productivity Growth among Japanese Firms D. Japanese SMEs: Productivity Growth and Firm Characteristics E. What Explains Low Productivity Growth among Japanese SMEs? F. Conclusions and Policy Discussion References Figures 1. Productivity Growth in Major Advanced Economies (2000–16) 2. Distribution of Labor Productivity Growth, 2001–13: SMEs vs. non-SMEs Tables 1. Comparison of Productivity and

Mariana Colacelli and Mr. Gee Hee Hong

in Japan has not been as pronounced as in some other countries such as the United Kingdom and the United States, average productivity growth has moderated. Figure 1. Productivity Growth in Major Advanced Economies (2000–16) Source: OECD. Note: Labor productivity growth is defined as the growth rate of output per capita. Sluggish SME productivity growth is a drag on Japan’s overall productivity growth . SME productivity growth has been significantly lower than that of large enterprises in Japan. According to Japan’s Ministry of Finance, SME labor

Mariana Colacelli and Mr. Gee Hee Hong
Productivity growth in Japan, as in most advanced economies, has moderated. This paper finds supportive evidence for the important role of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in explaining Japan’s modest productivity growth. Results show a substantial dispersion in firm-level productivity growth across sectors and even across firms within the same sector. SMEs, on average, exhibit lower productivity growth than non-SMEs in Japan, with smaller and older SMEs showing particularly low productivity growth. Estimates suggest that boosting productivity growth in all of the worst-performing SMEs could improve overall productivity growth by up to 1.8 percentage points. The SME credit guarantee system, SME financing constraints, demographic factors, and lack of intangible capital investment are discussed as contributors to the slow productivity growth of Japan’s small and old SMEs.