A delegation of GIZ partners and representatives of Ministries of Finance, Centrals Banks and the private sector from Egypt, Morocco, the Palestinian Authorities and Tunisia followed the invitation by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) to participate in a study tour on SME Finance in Germany. Having exchanged their national experience with their peers from May 22-28, the delegates went back home with a joint idea to sustain concerted efforts in promoting finance for the SME sector.
Which instruments does the German “Mittelstand” use to finance its activities? What are German public initiatives to promote enabling regulatory conditions for the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) and job promotion? How is access to finance secured in an economy where more than 99% of enterprises are SMEs and contribute to more than 50% of the German national income and employ more than 60% of the working population?
To discuss these questions during the 5-day study trip to Frankfurt and Eschborn the delegation from the MENA region met with, amongst others, the BaFin, the DZ Bank, the Schufa credit bureau, the Academy of German Cooperatives (ADG), the KFW Mittelstandsbank, the Sanad Fund for MSME, the ZGV Association of the German Mittelstand, the online credit matching platform Campeon, the German Leasing Association BDL, and the GIZ.
The delegates from the MENA region found the diversity of SME definitions –also very well known in different countries of the MENA region, the variety of financing in instruments, in particular the mechanisms of the KfW Mittelstandsbank, the role of leasing in SME finance, and the innovative online mechanisms to match SMEs with lenders as the most thrilling lessons learned from the German experience.
The learnings however were not limited to the German case. Participants engaged in lively debates with their peers from across the region. Among the discussed highlights were the well-established credit guarantee schemes for MSMEs in the MENA region, Tunisia’s progressive efforts for its national strategy on financial inclusion, and the newly established regional development banks that will play an important role in expanding access to finance for Tunisian SMEs.
The regional delegates returned home from a fruitful knowledge exchange trip to Germany, which led to the idea to create a SME Finance Group for the MENA region to sustain the sharing of best practices and individual experiences. GIZ will further support its partners from the region in their endeavour to promote SME finance.
By Onur Azcan & David Bartocha