From May 2016 to February 2017, a series of in-country seminars were organised in six MED countries, namely, Tunisia, Algeria, Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and Palestine.

All national seminars have taken stock of the reforms needed to enhance the financial inclusion of MSMEs, a fabric that constitutes the backbone of these countries economy; and are key drivers of growth, job creation and poverty reduction. They were all organised in close coordination with the SBA Coordinator and the Access to Finance Advisor. Each national seminar gathered on average 60 participants, representing the public and private sectors.

Participants were representatives of different institutions and organisations:

  1. high-level public officials such as the Central Bank, the Ministries of Finance, Economy, International Cooperation, Industry and Trade, the regulatory agencies;
  2. representatives from main financial institutions, including Banks, Guarantee Funds, Venture Capital, Microfinance Institutions (MFI);
  3. representatives from the  private sector, such as the Chambers of Commerce and Industry, business support organisations.;
  4. MSME service firms including Incubators; and businesses, think tanks and academia.  The resource persons, who participated to the focus groups organised in each MED country were also present.

The specific objectives of these national seminars were to:

  • Inform national stakeholders, in particular MSMEs, of available financing schemes, programmes and instruments in each country;
  • Share good practices (regional, European and international) on public policies, mechanisms and instruments on key topics relevant or of particular interest for the country (e.g. guarantee schemes, risk sharing mechanisms, venture capital, etc.);
  • Discuss policy recommendations at national level and formulate country-specific actionable recommendations to contribute to unlock financing opportunities for MSMEs in a sustainable manner.

 The objectives were met and participants, with the help of EBESM experts, produced concrete proposals, finding tangible and sustainable solutions to develop their MSMEs sector.