Saudi Arabia presents its experience in supporting small and medium enterprises to “UNCTAD”


The Saudi Social Development Bank presented its role in supporting small, medium and micro-enterprises in the Kingdom during a panel discussion on the Internet, organized by the United Nations Organization for Trade and Development (UNCTAD) from its headquarters in Geneva.
In the episode – which is the seventh edition of Empretec World Summit – UNCTAD specialists emphasized that small and medium enterprises can strengthen their recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, given their innovative nature and the pursuit of opportunities, “but they need more support.”
Speakers stressed during the seminar, in which about 600 experts from 64 countries participated, and nearly three thousand viewers from 94 countries watched it on Facebook and United Nations TV, stressing that policy makers need to adapt policies and institutions to support micro, small and medium enterprises. And enable it to make a greater contribution to the economic recovery after the epidemic.
In turn, Isabelle Durant, Acting Secretary-General of UNCTAD, said, “The support should be in line with the priorities of social and economic recovery after Covid-19, and that there should be short-term support measures such as reducing the tax burden on MSMEs and expanding debt financing. And employment support, which are measures that should continue. “
“But at the same time, it is important to invest in long-term structural policies, such as digital and financial inclusion, as well as developing entrepreneurial skills capabilities,” she added.
Participants watched tables of figures presented by UNCTAD specialists, confirming that micro, small and medium enterprises form the backbone of the global economy, as they represent two-thirds of employment worldwide and between 80 and 90 percent of employment in low-income countries.
The symposium noted that these companies have been disproportionately affected by the shocks associated with the epidemic, being overrepresented in the non-essential service sectors most affected by the lockdown measures. The figures also showed that many MSMEs suffered huge losses in revenues while others were closed.
Speakers said, “The smaller size of small and medium-sized enterprises allows them to be flexible and adapt to new environments similar to those created by Covid-19. Not only does it help overcome previous constraints related to lack of productive capacity and economic diversification in many low-income countries, but rather.” It can also promote a strong and sustainable recovery. “
Participants exchanged good practices in strengthening the role of entrepreneurship and micro, small and medium enterprises, with a special focus on UNCTAD’s Empretec program, which relies on a behavioral approach to developing entrepreneurship capabilities. Saudi Arabia has implemented its first phase and is currently implementing its second phase.
Tatyana Krylova, Head of Projects at UNCTAD, emphasized that the program’s methodology aims to unleash the personal entrepreneurial potential of each participant in the program through behavioral change. This includes assessing individual differences in a person’s desire to achieve entrepreneurial excellence and enhance capabilities through an interactive coaching approach.
“During the pandemic, Empretec has continued to prove itself as one of the most influential means of facilitating and promoting entrepreneurship … it is the 4U program – unleashed, unique, global and unified,” she added.
Krylova encouraged more entrepreneurs and micro, small and medium enterprises to join the program in their countries to facilitate their contribution to the post-Covid-19 recovery.
The Saudi Social Development Bank provided an explanation of the bank’s contribution to the success of the Saudi government program to support and develop small and medium enterprises, and to continue its role more effectively during the epidemic.
The bank is one of the most important government arms for social development, as it works actively in supporting and financing small and medium enterprises projects, and its activity in this field has increased following Covid-19.
Jarallah Al-Ghazi, the impact assessment strategy advisor at the bank, explained that the epidemic that imposed an unprecedented economic challenge and the closure that followed, had prompted the bank to expand its loans by three times.
He stated that the government provided $ 13 billion through the Saudi Central Bank to stimulate the economy and mitigate or eliminate the damage suffered by small and medium enterprises and the private sector.
He stated that this amount contributed to helping the private sector companies to improve their financial budgets and enable them to continue their economic activities in society.
He stressed that the bank extended the grace period for repayments for a period of six months, so that more than 12,000 enterprises would benefit from this in restoring their budgets after the damage caused by Covid-19, and also introduced the working capital program and set up training and knowledge courses for small and medium enterprises.
Bruno Kwik, Technical Director of the Agency for Small and Micro Business Support Services in Brazil, also spoke about his country’s experience in supporting small and medium enterprises, the Nigerian Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, and other high-level members from Argentina, Uruguay, Romania, Russia, and others. Discussions focused particularly on examining the factors that helped some MSMEs survive and others thrive in the midst of the pandemic, and how to facilitate their comprehensive and resilient recovery.


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