17 December 2016

AS a strategic step toward the development of the small-to-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Saudi Arabia, the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), a member of the Islamic Development Bank Group, and Catalyst Group inked an engagement agreement to commence ITFC’s KSA SME Program to boost the SME trade development.

Through this partnership, ITFC will be piloting a SME Trade Development Program (TDP) in Saudi Arabia in an effort to scale it to other countries in the future. The agreement was signed by Hani Salem Sonbol, CEO of ITFC, and Nazih Al-Naser, CEO of Catalyst Group, at ITFC’s headquarters in Jeddah on Wednesday.

The agreement comes in line with Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 SMEs Trade Development Program to boost export capacity and help achieve Vision 2030’s overall target. ITFC’s KSA SMEs Program is a unique proposition to boost SMEs trade potential by removing barriers to trade among other goals and objectives. The TDP will help SMEs gain access to finance, provide capacity building by enhancing knowledge, create awareness and increase SMEs network as part of efforts to expand export capacity. It will also provide advisory services to governments and institutions to further develop the export sector and facilitate trade finance.

“The SMEs sector is the engine spurring economic growth and sustainable development in any country. This ambitious partnership will open the doors to SMEs in Saudi Arabia to gain access to finance, and marks a major milestone for Saudi Vision 2030,” Sonbol said after signing the agreement.

Al-Naser expressed his optimism about Catalyst Group’s partnership with ITFC, saying, “SMEs represent a driving force in the economy of Saudi Arabia constituting around 90 percent of total business enterprises in the country and they will be a significant contributor to the overall objectives of Saudi Vision 2030. This agreement provides us an opportunity to support SMEs while supporting Saudi Vision 2030.” 

© The Saudi Gazette 2016