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.

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The foundations of SME policy: definitions, statistics, and institutions

This chapter analyses the main reforms undertaken by MED economies since 2014 in terms of the building blocks of SME policy: the adoption of official definitions of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises; the collection and dissemination of business statistics; and the establishment of effective institutional co-ordination and public-private dialogue mechanisms. Overall, the assessment finds that MED economies are stepping up their efforts in these areas. Nevertheless, more could be done to: 1. Adopt official SME definitions that combine various criteria – notably employment, turnover and balance sheet considerations. Doing so would help to better reflect the diverse nature of SMEs operating in different sectors and with different levels of productivity. SME definitions could also have a clear legal or official status – reflected, for example, in SME laws and bills. 2. Collect SME data from administrative sources of information (such as business registries, tax administrations, social security administrations) and also from business associations. Apart from reducing the administrative burden on enterprises, this could help to cut data collection costs and increase the availability of statistics.3. Strengthen co-ordination among SME policy actors (public and private), including at the high level (e.g. ministerial), technical level (e.g. agency) and sub-national level. Such co-ordination could be guided by the implementation of multiannual SME and entrepreneurship strategies and the designation of a specialised secretariat (e.g. a SME agency or unit) to execute the strategy. 4. Establish public-private dialogue platforms that are representative of the various types of SMEs and entrepreneurs operating throughout each country and in different economic activities.

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