MSME Economic Indicators
The MSME Economic Indicators Database 2019 records the number of formally registered micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) across 176 economies. The 2019 update includes the latest economy MSME definitions, number of enterprises, employment figures, and historical data. In addition, the 2019 update kick-starts the collection of information regarding MSME contribution to the economies and includes information on multiple MSME definitions and data sources within an economy. Data are also disaggregated by firm size.
Download the data here.
Please read the “Methodology Note on the MSME Economic Indicators 2019” along with the country specific comments in the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise Economic Indicators (MSME-EI) MS Excel workbook before using the data. MSME-EI presents secondary data collected by various institutions (statistical institutes, ministries, international organizations, small business promotion agencies, research institutions and others) using different methods (survey, census and others).
This note provides an overview of the MSME Economic Indicators (MSME-EI) database, previously known as the MSME Country Indicators database. It collates the official country level definitions of Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) from over 176 economies. The comprehensive database is a unique data source that highlights the variety of definitions, allowing the IFC to assess the use of the definition across economies.
The latest data suggests the following observations:
First, the number of employees continues to be the most widely used variable for defining MSMES across economies. However, the thresholds for classifying an enterprise by size vary across countries — and, sometimes, even within a country.
Second, in the 77 economies where data is available, there are 322 million formal MSMEs employing almost 72 percent of private sector employees.
Third, MSME density as measured by the number of formal MSMEs per 1,000 people, is higher in high-income economies. However, the growth rate in the number of MSMEs is highest among low- and middle-income economies and countries in Europe and Central Asia.
Since 2007, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) has been collecting publicly available official MSME definitions used by economies around the world. This has enabled the IFC to build four large cross-section and time-series data sets with observations for the years 2007, 2010, 20141, and 2019.2 The previous updates were called MSME Country Indicators. However, this update, launched in 2019, is called MSME Economic Indicators (MSME-EI) to reflect the expanded number of new economic indicators covered by the dataset. The data for the 2019 update were collected between July and December of 2018.
This note provides an overview of the updated and expanded data for the MSME Country Inidcators database across 155 economies. Descriptive statistics for MSME definitions and data are presented. The analysis of MSME definitions suggests that the most widely used variable for defining an MSME is the number of employees followed by turnover and assets. Variability for threshold values is high among countries, but it reduces with firm size. In general, it was found that threshold values tend to decrease with country incomes. The analysis of data indicates that there are around 162.8 million formal MSMEs where more than 508 million employees work. High income economies have the highest number of MSMEs per 1,000 people while the highest growth rates are found among lower middle income economies. MSME share of employment fluctuates between 50 to 70 percent across regions.
Even though MSMEs are important in terms of number of enterprises and contribution to employment, there is room for improvement in terms of their contribution to value added, particularly in developing countries. Better access to finance, streamlined business environments, a better competitive landscape, adequate institutional frameworks, less poverty and increased shared prosperity are related to higher numbers of formal MSMEs per 1,000 people around the world. Finally, the quantity and quality of MSME data require drastic improvements in order to produce rigorous studies and enhance the understanding of the MSME sector.
This note provides an overview of new data on MSME (micro, small, and medium enterprise) Country Indicators for 132 economies. There are 125 million formal MSMEs in this set of economies, including 89 million in emerging markets. Descriptive statistical analysis is presented on the relationship between formal MSME density (number of formally registered MSMEs per 1,000 people) and key obstacles for MSMEs, such as access to finance and informality. This analysis shows that formal MSMEs are more common in high-income economies, but that in low- and middle-income economies, MSME density is rising at a faster pace. Second, although there is significant variance in the countries’ definitions of MSMEs, around a third of the countries covered define MSMEs as having up to 250 employees. Third, formal MSMEs employ more than one-third of the world’s labor force, but the percentage drops significantly with income level. Fourth, MSMEs are more likely to identify access to finance as their biggest obstacle than are large firms. In fact, in economies with a higher percentage of firms with no formal credit, MSME density is lower. Finally, a larger informal sector is associated with lower formal MSME density. Measures of barriers to firm entry and exit, such as the minimum capital requirement and the recovery rate in case of bankruptcy, are also associated with lower formal MSME density.
What is the MSME-EI database?
The Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise Economic Indicators (MSME-EI) database aims to provide cross-economy and time-series official data for policy makers, researchers, and private sector firms working on MSME-related topics. The database is curated by two IFC teams: SME Finance Forum and Sector Economics and Development Impact.
Is there anything I need to know before using the 2019 MSME-EI database?
Yes. Please read the ‘Methodology Note regarding the MSME Economic Indicators,’ along with the economy-specific comments in the MSME-EI Excel workbook before using the data. The MSME-EI presents secondary data, that is, original data collected by various institutions (statistical institutes, ministries, international organizations, small business promotion agencies, research institutions and others) using different methods (mainly censuses). As such, the data are not always standardized across countries and time which may hamper data comparability, among other issues. The IFC is not responsible for the quality, accuracy, reliability or completeness of the data provided by these sources.
How often is the online MSME-EI database updated?
The online MSME-EI database and related publications are updated every four years, with the previous update occurring in 2014.
What is new in the 2019 update of the MSME-EI database?
The 2019 MSME database records the number of formally registered MSMEs across 199 economies. It adds 44 economies, covering all World Bank Group members. The 2019 update maintains multiple official data sources, if available. For example, there are up to five sources in the case of Brazil. In addition, the 2019 update launches the collection of data on issues such as MSME lending, MSME loan quality, women-owned MSMEs, and informality.
What has been done to control the quality of the data?
First, the database uses only official sources. Second, regional IFC financial sector specialists reviewed economy-level data. Finally, peer reviewers from inside and outside of the IFC reviewed the full database.
Where can I send questions about the MSME and other publications/databases referenced in the MSME-EI?
What are the key indicators of the 2019 MSME-EI database?
The indicators presented in MSME-EI include MSME definition, number of MSMEs, MSME density (number of MSMEs per 1000 people), MSME lending, MSME loan quality, MSME participation in the economy (MSME employment and value added), women-owned enterprises and informality.
What are the main data sources of the 2019 MSME-EI database?
The main data sources include: statistical institutes, ministries, central banks, regional and international organizations, small business promotion government agencies, and research institutions. For the European Union (EU) member-state economies, the Eurostat data from the Structural Business Statistics Database (SBS) were used, as well as information provided by the respective national statistical offices.
What is the scope of the 2019 MSME-EI database?
First, the data covers private businesses. However, it does not cover public establishments. Finally, for sector coverage, please check individual Sector Distribution sources. Sector coverage may vary by economy.