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SME Policy Index: The Mediterranean Middle East and North Africa 2014

Implementation of the Small Business Act for Europe

image of SME Policy Index: The Mediterranean Middle East and North Africa 2014

This report assesses the elaboration and implementation of SME policy in eight Middle East and North African economies of the southern Mediterranean shore. The assessment is structured according to the ten policy principles covered in the Small Business Act for Europe (the SBA). One of the main findings is that over the last five years there has been progress in SME policy elaboration and implementation in spite of the political and economic turmoil. However, that progress has been modest, incremental and uneven across economies and dimensions. Political and economic stability, as well as institutional development, had a major impact on policy performance.

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Executive summary

Economies in the Mediterranean Middle East and North Africa (MED economies) are engaged in proactive policies to support SMEs. This is a relatively recent development and a significant shift from past policies that focused on supporting strategic enterprises and sectors. An important factor behind this shift has been the unrelenting pressure to generate more and better jobs: the region’s labour supply is rapidly expanding while new entrants to the labour market have higher education levels than those of previous generations. This certainly represents a major opportunity for development, but also a potential liability for social and political stability if that opportunity does not materialise.

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