MSMEs in the Informal Sector: Formalization Ensure Sustainable Finance and Decent Jobs?

About 2 billion workers, or over 60 percent of the world’s adult labor force, operate in the informal  sector –at least part-time, according to the ILO. The COVID-19 pandemic hit informal workers  particularly hard, especially women. Micro Small Medium Enterprises (MSME), both formal and  informal, make up over 90% of all firms around the globe and offer employment to one-third of 1.2  billion people in the world who work in the informal sector. They generate services for other sectors  like small and large industries, retail, tourism, transportation, construction, etc., and contribute to over  30% of GDP and more than 70% of all jobs created in developing countries. MSMEs were heavily  impacted by the pandemic and continue to face existential challenges on various fronts including but  not limited to business formalization.

MSMEs, both formal and informal, make up over 90% of all firms around the globe1 and contribute to more than half of the GDP in most countries irrespective of income2. As many countries struggle to cope with the growing debt burdens and limited fiscal space to finance the SDGs, the important role of MSMEs as catalytic forces for achieving the SDGs cannot be stressed enough. Despite formalization gathering pace, MSMEs and those in the informal sector also continue to struggle to access formal finance. Without the appropriate regulatory reforms, social protection measures, access to formal finance, and capacity building in tools such as financial literacy and numeracy tools to help manage finances effectively, inclusive growth and a decent work environment for those in the sector will remain a challenge. As part of the Development Cooperation Strategy 2020-25, the ILO is forging partnerships that advance policy objectives and coherence within the framework of Integrated National Financing Frameworks (INFFs) that promote Financing Decent Work. In this panel, the speakers will share global and on-the-ground perspectives and explore steps countries are taking through regulatory reforms, access to finance, and capacity building to ensure sustainable finance and decent work for MSMEs in the informal sector.

Register here!


  • H.E. Mr. Arrmanatha Christiawan Nasir, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Indonesia to the  UN (TBC) 
  • Ms. Chantal Line Carpentier, Chief, UNCTAD New York Office of the Secretary-General
  • Ms. Adriana Marina, Founder of Hecho por Nosotros & animaná, Argentina
  • Mr. Amar G. Prabhu, Principal of Don Bosco Industrial Training Institute Kurla, Mumbai, India
  • Ms. Sandie Ejang Elobu, CEO, Western Silk Road, Ltd., Uganda 
  • Ms. Nana Efua Brown-Orleans, Program Lead, Duapa Workspace, Ghana 
  • Ms. Estella Kabagaya Eldradaa, Founder, Mama Children Village, Uganda

Organizers: NGO Committee on Financing for Development, Virginia  Gildersleeve International Fund (DBA Women First International Fund), Salesian Missions Inc, Africa  Development Interchange Network, Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Sisters of Charity Federation


CoNGO Notes: The NGO Committee on Financing for Development is a Substantive Committee of the Conference of NGOs in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations. Likewise, for more information on the NGO Committee on Social Development, please visit ngosocdev.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development/NY, please visit ngocsd-ny.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development/Vienna, please visit ngocsdvienna.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on the Status of Women/NY, please visit ngocsw.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on the Status of Women/Geneva, please visit ngocsw-geneva.ch. For more information on the NGO Committee on the Status of Women/Vienna, please visit ngocswvienna.org.

Exploring Digital Finance’s Real Promises and Challenges for Development

Exploring Digital Finance’s Real Promises and Challenges for Development

Join the NGO Committee on Financing for Development on Wednesday, 27 April 2022, 8:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. EDT for this official side event to the 2022 ECOSOC Financing for Development Forum.

Register here: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZ0qc-6orjsuGdFhyWHfljp7ZNxV526Onoc7


  • Ms. Cina Lawson, Minister of Digital Economy and Transformation of the Republic of Togo (TBC)
  • Dr. Purva Khera, Economist, International Monetary Fund
  • Mr. Johannes Ehrentraud, Senior Advisor, Financial Stability Institute, Bank for International Settlements
  • Ms. Sofie Blakstad, CEO of hiveonline and author of Fintech Revolution: Universal Inclusion in the New Financial Ecosystem
  • Ms. Anneleen Vos, Seionr Economic Policy Officer, International Rescue Committee
  • Mr. Prabhat Labh, CEO, Grameen Foundation India
  • Ms. Mercy Buku, Program Leader, Toronto Center

Moderator: Mx. Anita Thomas, Chair, NGO Committee on FfD, Representative to the UN, Women First International Fund

Co-sponsors: ManUp Campaign, Change Management Solutions, Sisters of Charity Foundation, African Development Interchange Network, IBVM


The UN Secretary General’s task force on digital finance in its report titled “People’s Money: Harnessing Digitalization to Finance a Sustainable Future,” spells out the transformational impact digital finance can have on sustainable development. Providing relief for millions around the world, supporting businesses, and protecting jobs and livelihoods, digital finance served as a lifeline during the COVID-19 pandemic. A World Bank tally of policy responses to the pandemic finds that at least 58 governments in developing countries used digital payments to deliver COVID-19 relief, of which 36 countries made payments into fully transactional accounts that were being used for saving beyond simply withdrawing cash. According to the GSMA, international remittances processed via mobile money increased by 65 percent in 2020.

Proponents of digital finance highlight its strong capabilities to reduce transaction costs, the potential of Artificial Intelligence to provide fair and equitable treatment of credit applicants, and the scalability of cloud technology, through the use of blockchain technology, to allow consumers to transact remotely and seamlessly across multiple platforms.

While the experience of COVID-19 has proven that digitalization can transform economies and lives, it needs to be shaped with both its advantages and potential risks in mind in order to bring everyone into the digital age. For technology to benefit everyone, private sector innovation must be supported by the appropriate public goods such as the public provision of foundational infrastructure, access to electricity, mobile and internet coverage.

As in the case of any disruptive technology, without combining technological advances with sound policy measures, digital technology cannot deliver on its potential to meaningfully advance financial inclusion for everyone, including the more than 2 billion unbanked people globally. Delivering on promises to advance financial inclusion can only be considered meaningful when the account holder has a fully functional account that they utilize to save, make payments, obtain manageable credit, and mitigate economic risks and is simply not utilized to withdraw cash from cash transfers from the government, which is overwhelmingly the case at this time.

By examining successful strategies that maximize digital finance’s potential while minimizing risks to the financial sector, government revenues, and at-risk populations, attendees will gain a better understanding of how digital finance can sustainably advance development objectives.


CoNGO Notes: The NGO Committee on Financing for Development is a Substantive Committee of the Conference of NGOs in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations.

[Webinar] A Shift in Mind-Sets: Faith-Based Solutions to Climate Action Obstacles in Agenda 2030

Dear Friends,

You are cordially invited to our CRNGO Climate Working Group webinar, a parallel event on the occasion of the High-Level Political Forum on the SDGs “A shift in mindsets: faith-based solutions to climate action obstacles in Agenda 2030 and the Paris Agreement.

Date: Monday, 13 July 2020

Time: 12:00-13:30 EDT / 18:00 – 19:30 CET

RSVP: https://forms.gle/uaYmVrwJWm6gLupCA

Organized by: The Committee of Religious NGOs at the United Nations, Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University, Presbyterian Church USA, Sokka Gakkai International, Parliament of the World’s Religions, ACT Alliance, World Council of Churches, IBVM, Baha’i International Community, The Bhumi Project, Loretto at the United Nations, Anglican Communion

Faith-based organizations working with the UN system have specific climate action goals that they address across multiple UN avenues and modalities. They also have been active in implementing Agenda 2030 and the Paris Agreement through programmatic action and advocacy locally, nationally and globally.

With five-year reviews of both Agenda 2030 and the Paris Agreement in 2020, this year’s High-Level Political Forum, with its review theme of “Accelerated action and transformative pathways: realizing the decade of action and delivery for sustainable development”, offers an ideal moment for faith-based organizations to a) consider climate action accomplishments thus far across both the SDG and Paris Agreement frameworks and b) identify and analyze obstacles to progress and develop joint strategies to accelerate ambition and related goals ahead of COP 26, particularly in the new context of COVID-19.

The parallel event is sponsored by faith-based organizations associated with an emerging Climate Working Group within the Committee of Religious NGOs at the UN (CRNGO). The Working Group is connected to the Interfaith Liaison Committee work at the UNFCCC Conferences of Parties, while also furthering climate goals in the specific context of the UN headquarters in New York City.

If you have any questions, please write to: religiousngo@gmail.com


CoNGO Notes: For more information about the Committee of Religious NGOs at the United Nations, visit rngos.wordpress.com. For more information on the NGO Committee on Freedom of Religion or Belief, visit unforb.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development – NY, visit ngocsd-ny.org. For more information on the NGO Committee on Sustainable Development – Vienna, visit ngocsdvienna.org