Funding for Bahraini small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) is targetted to comprise 20 per cent of retail banks’ local loan portfolio by 2025, a top minister has said.

According to Industry and Commerce Minister Abdulla bin Adel Fakhro the kingdom’s financial services sector development strategy 2022-2026 stipulates an increase in the share of SME financing through a phased approach.

He was speaking during an event organised by Bahrain Islamic Bank (BisB) and the SMEs Development Board at the bank’s Financial Mall in Budaiya.

“The government believes in the importance of this vital sector and has made significant efforts towards providing innovative, sustainable financing services that support SMEs,” Mr Fakhro asserted.

“This also comes as part of the SMEs Development Board strategy 2022-2026 focused on the ‘Access to Finance’ pillar, through which 13 initiatives have been established by the board and 10 have been completed.”

The initiatives include Al Waha Fund of Funds, Women Banking Solutions, the Crowdfunding Platform, the Bahrain Investment Market, Support for Phase 1 Startups, and the Public Procurement Financing Programme for SMEs – all of which, said the minister, have had a significant impact in developing financing processes.

Declaring that partnerships are required to achieve these objectives, Mr Fakhro further said BisB has focused on offering simplified, innovative banking solutions to support these enterprises.

“This will also enable further steps towards developing products that meet the growing needs of this sector and support these companies, in addition to ensuring their stability and growth.”

Yaser Alsharifi, chief executive of BisB, commented: “We are pleased to be joining forces with the SMEs Development Board to organise this event to provide support for SMEs in Bahrain along with our partners. We are committed to continue to provide simplified and innovative financial solutions for our corporate customers that will facilitate their growth and unlock possibilities.”

Jawad Humaidan, chief corporate and institutional banking officer at BisB, said: “This event reflects our commitment towards SMEs in the kingdom. Jointly with our partners, we are offering an integrated solution for our corporate customers that will enable growth through fully digital banking and financing solutions and exclusive and discounted service by our partners.”

The event was attended by a number of representatives from the public and private sectors, alongside the bank’s management team and several Bahraini entrepreneurs.


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