5th International MENA Guarantee Conference 2021 - Virtual Event
The COVID-19 pandemic hit Middle Eastern small business hard: survey data collected by the Rand Corporation during the first wave of the pandemic in June 2020 found that 85% of SMEs in the region believed that they would not survive 12 months without external support.
Given that MSMEs make up 80-90% of all regional businesses, and 70% of regional employment, this presents a challenge for policymakers and finance providers. Credit guarantee schemes are a key part of the solution, a powerful means to extend liquidity to the private sector during crisis periods, without overwhelming the fiscal balance. However, making credit guarantees work for the MSME sector is a new and developing science. Even in normal conditions, MENA SMEs face major challenges when it comes to access to finance. For example, the ILO estimates that 68% of MENA MSMEs are informal. Even those that are formally incorporated often struggle to find the collateral needed for a conventional loan.