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Singapore, Cambodia launch financial transparency corridor
Digital platform seeks to facilitate trade between SMEs in two countries
Peter Starr 19 Jun 2024

The central banks of Singapore and Cambodia have launched a digital “financial transparency corridor” to catalyze increased trade and cross-border financial services between small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the two countries.

Taking part in the initiative are NEXT Bank, Liquid Group and Sing Investments & Finance from Singapore, and Advanced Bank of Asia, Acleda Bank, Phillip Bank, Sathapana Bank and Wing Bank from Cambodia.

Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) managing director Chia Der Jiun and National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) governor Chea Serey launched the undertaking in Singapore on June 18. Prime Minister Lawrence Wong and visiting Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet presided over the event.

As a consent-based digital infrastructure platform and network, the corridor is aimed at enabling participants to better assess credit risks and boost financing for SME trade between Singapore and Cambodia.

Among the first live transactions, Sing Investments & Finance is expected to use the platform to finance Singapore food services operator JR Group in buying raw materials and commodities from a Cambodian company. Liquid Group will use the platform to check foreign currency payments related to Singapore-Cambodia trade.

From Cambodia, Sathapana Bank will leverage the platform to provide financing to local companies such as engineering services group Comin Khmere, which imports building materials from multiple companies in Singapore.

Subsequent phases of the initiative “will increase the deal flow, number of financial institutions involved, and explore green finance and trade finance, to bolster the trade capabilities of both countries”, according to a joint MAS-NBC statement.

From left, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Manet, NBC governor Chea Serey, MAS managing director Chia Der Jiun and Singapore Prime Minister Lawrence Wong. (Hun Manet’s Facebook page)

Chia of MAS says the platform will “support greater access to financial services for SMEs, through the exchange of SME financial data”.

“This will create greater business opportunities for our SMEs and participating financial institutions,” he adds.

NBC’s Chea Serey says the corridor “exemplifies the shared vision of the NBC and MAS to support information flows for businesses, in particular SMEs, through enhancing financial trust data for financial services between Singapore and Cambodia which will promote abilities of SMEs in better access for SMEs to finance beyond borders”.

The launch, which follows the signing of a memorandum of understanding in July last year, “underscores our commitment in driving positive change to foster trade and financial services and promoting sustainable economic development,” she adds.

The platform is designed and run by Singapore’s Proxtera, a private company formed as part of a cross-border SME initiative between MAS and Singapore’s Infocomm Media Development Authority.

On its launch in 2020, then MAS managing director Ravi Menon said Proxtera aimed to “connect different platforms globally to help SMEs access a much larger ecosystem of buyers and sellers”.

In 2022, Proxtera launched an emerging markets currency exchange and an integrated financial ecosystem for Ghana.

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