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Access to Assets

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• Only 10 percent of firms have overdraft facilities, compared with 71 percent in Malaysia, 44 percent in Vietnam, and 19 percent in Indonesia (World Bank 2007b). • Microfirms in Lao PDR listed access to credit as the most significant constraint to doing business (World Bank 2007b). China • Access to finance for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) varies considerably among the different regions, from 51.2 percent in Bohai to only 24.8 percent in the Northeast, where nonperforming loans to state-owned enterprises (SOEs) make it more difficult for banks to lend to SMEs (World Bank 2006a).1 Pacific Island countries • While a survey of Pacific Island countries (Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga, and Vanuatu) indicated that a large majority of firms could get loans in most of the countries, Papua New Guinea was an exception, with only a 35 percent success rate for those who applied for a loan (IFC 2003). • Even where loans were obtained, they appear to have been insufficient, with most firms in Papua New Guinea, Samoa, and Vanuatu saying they needed more financing despite having short- or long-term loans (IFC 2003). • Samoa and Tonga have a high proportion of female business ownership in aggregate, but the ratio of female to male owners declines dramatically by business segment size; women own proportionally fewer SMEs than microenterprises (IFC 2003). One possible reason for this ownership pattern is that women lack sufficient access to the capital they need for business expansion. Reasons for credit-access constraints vary across the region. Constraints emerge on both the demand and supply side for all entrepreneurs, whether they are women or men. However, research is needed to determine the extent to which (1) on the demand side, women are less aware than men of (and so have less demand for) the formal sector financial products available; and (2) on the supply side, whether there are systematic differences in the amounts and commercial terms of credit offered to women and men with the same borrower profiles.

Economic Opportunities for Women in the East Asia and Pacific Region  

The East Asia and Pacific region has made great progress, relative to other regions, with regard to both economic development and, specifica...

Economic Opportunities for Women in the East Asia and Pacific Region  

The East Asia and Pacific region has made great progress, relative to other regions, with regard to both economic development and, specifica...