Unlocking SME potential in Saudi Arabia
"Small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are of crucial importance to many economies. SMEs are typically the most important creators of jobs, and provide critical functions in their own right, both as suppliers and as subcontractors to larger corporations. For SMEs to play these crucial roles, it is essential for them to have access to the banking system. According to a study by the International Finance Corporation (IFC), there are between nine and 11 million micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and around 1.8 million in Saudi Arabia alone. The IFC further estimates that the credit gap in this segment in the MENA region is upwards of $300bn, i.e. SMEs would require $300bn of additional banking facilities not received today for them to optimally operate. This very sizeable credit gap presents a challenge as well as an opportunity to banks and governments alike."
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