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


Important progress and reforms have been achieved over the past few years in terms of the overall economic agenda. However, in terms of SME and entrepreneurship policy Tunisia is still putting in place the initial building blocks. First, since 2016 there is a new SME definition in the context of the new Investment Law; however, this definition is mainly based on financial criteria (an SME has to have total assets of less than TND 15 million, or roughly EUR 5 million), with no distinction made between micro, small and medium-sized firms (see Table 13.1). Furthermore, although the definition is used by the Agency for the Promotion of Industry and Innovation (APII – one of the institutions in charge of enterprise policy) to delimit its field of action, there are other definitions used by several other actors, such as the SME bank (BFPME) and the statistics office (INS).

English Also available in: French

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