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 Also available in: Arabic, French

Nurturing start-ups and SME growth

This chapter focuses on three specific factors that can be significant drivers of private sector development in the context of MED economies: the availability and accessibility of business development services, the ease of access to public procurement opportunities for SMEs, and measures to promote SME internationalisation, notably through exports.Overall, this interim assessment finds a large number of programmes and initiatives but very little evidence of their results. This could suggest 1) that these initiatives have effectively remained declarations of intent without clear strategies for SMEs to benefit; 2) that linking actions to results has been a weak exercise, with no evidence available on the extent to which SMEs have benefited from the many initiatives in these three policy areas; or 3) a combination of both. This interim assessment puts forward the following actions for MED economies:1. Consolidate and disseminate comprehensive information about SME and entrepreneurship support programmes provided by different institutions (government agencies, private sector providers, donors, etc.).2. Publish the results of these inventories and make them easily available for their beneficiaries through simple means such as brochures and through comprehensive mechanisms such as SME Observatories.3. Implement e-procurement systems and track the extent to which specific measures have actually benefited SMEs (e.g. splitting tenders into lots, easing procurement conditions, providing down payments, etc.). Procurement observatories could be a useful tool for assessing the effectiveness of these measures. They could be linked with SME Observatories.4. Better link export promotion strategies with concrete measures for SMEs to benefit from these strategies, and better track whether exports or trade in general (exports and imports) actually increase, and to what extent these results end up benefitting SMEs (e.g. access to cheaper and better-quality inputs or greater access to markets).

English Also available in: French

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