SME financing gap in MENA as high as $240bn

Almost two thirds of MENA SMEs still face major financing challenges, according to new report
SME financing gap in MENA as high as $240bn
By Neil King
Tue 20 May 2014 01:28 PM

Small and medium sized businesses in the MENA region face a financing gap of up to $240bn, according to a new survey.

The report published by the World Bank / Union of Arab Banks surveyed more than 130 MENA banks, revealing that 63 percent of SMEs in the region do not have access to finance.

Speaking on the findings at a workshop focused on SME finance, Massimo Falcioni, CEO of global trade credit insurance company Euler Hermes GCC, added: “I understand... that only eight percent of lending goes to SMEs across MENA, and even less in the GCC countries at two percent.

“This is substantially lower when compared to the middle income countries’ lending average of 18 percent and high-income countries’ average of 12 percent.”

The study suggested that the total financing gap for SMEs in MENA is estimated about $210bn to $240 billion.

Falcioni added: “A recent study from DMCC has confirmed this and reported that 45 percent of its members registered in the Free Zone need substantial funding.

“Only around 36 percent have access to funds, and of these, only 33 percent are fully funded by local banks.”

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