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The Mediterranean Middle East and North Africa 2018

Interim Assessment of Key SME Reforms

image of The Mediterranean Middle East and North Africa 2018

This report provides an in-depth analysis of major reforms undertaken between 2014 and 2018 to promote micro, small and medium-sized enterprise development in Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, the Palestinian Authority and Tunisia. The report focuses on five strategic areas for SME policy making: SME definitions, statistics and institutions; improving business environments for SMEs and entrepreneurs; fostering access to finance; nurturing start-ups and SME growth; and the development of entrepreneurial human capital.

The report aims to showcase good practices and to point to areas where more efforts are needed. It provides valuable guidance for governments, private sector organisations, multilateral bodies and other stakeholders to intensify their efforts to support SMEs as essential vehicles for jobs and competitiveness. This is particularly relevant in a region striving to boost economic diversification, employment creation and the inclusion of youth and women in the economy.

The report is the result of a process of close collaboration among governments, the OECD, the European Training Foundation and the European Commission.

English Arabic, French

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Fostering access to finance

Access to finance is an area where significant progress has been achieved in the MED region over the past few years. This is especially the case in terms of the legal and regulatory framework for access to finance, where a number of credit bureaus and registries of moveable assets have been established, and where secured transactions laws have been passed or are in the process of being passed. There has also been progress in terms of the expansion of sources of finance for SMEs and entrepreneurs, although here it is less evident how this has resulted in increased funding and whether there will be a greater role for private actors in the future – namely privately-owned credit guarantee schemes, business angel investments and private equity vehicles.This interim assessment puts forward the following actions for MED economies:1. Continue bridging information asymmetries through the creation and expansion of credit registries and, more notably, credit bureaus. Credit bureaus are especially useful because 1) they are managed by private actors and 2) they draw on more diverse sources of information than credit registries (utilities, consumption credit, microfinance institutions, etc.).2. Increase efforts to create registries of moveable assets. This is important for entrepreneurs and SMEs lacking real estate to pledge as collateral, and particularly relevant for potentially innovative firms which may rely on intangible assets such as trademarks, patents and intellectual property.3. Continue expanding the diversity and reach of different sources of finance (credit, equity and hybrid instruments) and include strategies for developing competitive markets in this area so that the state eventually steps out in favour of private actors.4. Improve the monitoring and evaluation of the impact of reforms for access to finance. Joining the OECD Scoreboard on Financing SMEs and Entrepreneurs, which contributes to filling the knowledge gap in SME finance trends and conditions, would be an important step in this direction.

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