MSME Access to Finance for Inclusive and Sustainable Growth

DG NEAR, Brussels, 24 November 2015 -

A regional working meeting on Access to Finance for MSMEs was held on 24 November 2015 in Brussels, hosted by the European Commission – DG NEAR. 

The purpose of this first Access to Finance meeting was to introduce the members of the working group on “Access to Finance”, and discuss the preliminary findings of both the mapping exercise and the focus group meetings with respect to public policies and programmes for SMEs financial inclusion, such as bank loans, guarantee instruments, risk capital, start-up financing, micro-finance, and other newer financial instruments.

Coming from six MED Partners countries, namely, Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia, 2-person delegations composed of the National SBA Coordinators and the Access to Finance advisors identified key challenges faced by MSMEs in accessing to finance, and exchanged ideas on the necessary measures to address these challenges and priority reforms needed at country level.

Their presence to this meeting, despite the current prevailing situation in Brussels, shows their solidarity with the Europe and their commitment to continue with conviction the construction of industrial cooperation between the EU and their countries.

The objective of this Access to Finance activity is to raise awareness and share information and good practices among all MED partners’ stakeholders about existing public policies, mechanisms and instruments supporting MSMEs financial needs for development (e.g. loans, guarantees, risk capital, microfinance, etc.). Its goal is to contribute to unlock Access to Finance for MSMEs in the MED region as current studies clearly indicate that access to finance remains insufficient compared to overall MSMEs needs (in most MED countries, less than 20% of credit financing goes to MSMEs). Implementing such policies will expand the private sector through the development of more robust, inclusive and sustainable growth, by raising MSMEs capacity, creating employment and improving competitiveness.

One fundamental feature of this activity is the establishment of a “Working Party on Access to Finance”, composed of one high-ranking responsible per MED country with strong technical expertise in the area of finance.  List of the Members of Working Group on Access to Finance (WGA2F) is available here.

The mapping exercise covering eight MED countries is well underway. The approach and methodology are harmonised with those of DG GROW in assessing EU Member States policies to ensure more coherence with the Small Business Act for Europe approach. In this respect, DG GROW made a presentation on EU policies on SME access to finance.

Synergies between EBESM and the Development of clusters in cultural and creative industries in the Southern Mediterranean Project, implemented by UNIDO, were enhanced. Indeed, during this meeting, case studies on how to fund 14 MED clusters in the cultural and creative Industries to boost competitiveness were discussed with participants.

For more information, please find out all the presentations held during the seminar in the following table :

1. Programme A2F 24/11/2015 EN
2. DG Grow EU Policies A2F EN
3. A2F Egypt EN
4. A2F Israel EN
5. A2F Lebanon EN
6. A2F Morocco FR
7. A2F Palestine EN
8. A2F Tunisia FR
9. A2F Jordan EN
10. A2F Algeria FR
11. Summary of preliminary findings EN
12. EBESM A2F Intervention Strategy EN
A2F Concept Note EN