Government support and effective policies key to future growth, say SMEs across Middle East and Africa: Mastercard research

88% of SMEs across the Middle East and Africa have identified government support and implementation of effective policies as key business support

  
Government support and effective policies key to future growth, say SMEs across Middle East and Africa: Mastercard research
  • The research correlates regional government efforts to advance GDP recovery and growth, to the implementation of supportive measures for the SME sector and the digital economy
  • Strategic recommendations for supporting business-to-business SMEs outlined in new public policy document by MastercardPolicy Center for the Digital Economy and Kearney

Dubai, UAE – New research by Mastercard has highlighted the important role of government support in helping small and medium enterprises (SMEs) across the Middle East and Africa (MEA) to recover, position for growth, and contribute to economic prosperity.

In the inaugural Mastercard MEA SME Confidence Index, government support and implementation of effective policies was highlighted as ‘important’ by 88% of the region’s SMEs, 50% of which rated this point as a ‘must-have’ essential.

This sentiment was especially pronounced in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) (92%) and Sub-Saharan Africa (90%) regions.

Multitude of opportunities

In addition to looking for effective regulatory support from governments, 92% SMEs in MEA said they are also looking for support in upskilling of their teams, and 88% highlighted the importance of improved telco infrastructure – pointing to opportunities to effect positive change in wide-ranging areas from education and skills development to systems and infrastructural progress.  

Public-private partnerships are crucial for effective development and implementation of initiatives that advance financial inclusion and inclusive growth. To achieve this, governments and the private sector must play a joint role in enabling a safe and secure operating environment.

Mastercard works closely with governments and the wider business community to advance SME inclusion into the digital economy through tailor-made digitization strategies, cutting-edge technologies, insights, and policy advice.

Government-led initiatives key to positive growth

Across MEA, 51% of SMEs say government-led initiatives could have a positive impact in supporting their businesses.

These include the UAE, where Dubai Government launched a third stimulus package to support small and medium enterprises maintain business continuity by reducing operational costs, while the Abu Dhabi Executive Council allocated AED 3 billion to the SME Credit Guarantee Scheme. The Central Bank of Egypt made it easier for SMEs to access capital by encouraging banks to raise their share of loans to MSMEs. A six-month debt relief finance scheme for SMMEs was launched by the South African government, along with a spaza support scheme and an agricultural disaster support fund for smallholder and communal farmers.

Public private partnerships a catalyst for growth 

Furthermore, SMEs in the region recognize the great potential of public-private partnerships (PPP), and 63% think private sector initiatives and partnerships will benefit businesses and the markets in which they operate.

One in three SMEs (32%) think that collaborating with governments and businesses outside their markets could impact their growth. In Southern Africa this was especially pronounced, with over half (56%) agreeing.

The need for the public and private sectors to work together to create a better environment for small businesses has been outlined in a public policy paper* titled Reimagining Support for Small Businesses, released by the Mastercard Policy Center for the Digital Economy in partnership with global consulting firm Kearney. The paper outlines a number of strategic recommendations which highlight how effective policy and innovation can address many of the challenges faced by business-to business SMEs.

The key recommendations are:

  • Ensure ongoing working capital stability for SMEs by driving solutions that ease cash flow burdens.
  • Remove barriers that hinder women-owned businesses’ ability to receive capital by making IDs more accessible, and allowing different types of collateral.
  • Make funding and resources available for B2B SMEs to build their digital capabilities by offering digitalization support for SMEs buying and selling internationally.
  • Ensure a safe and secure operating environment for SMEs, in terms of cybersecurity, trust and transparency, as SMEs become increasingly digital.
  • Build B2B SMEs’ knowledge of the financial and digital tools and resources available to them.
  • Facilitate partnerships in which private entities, non-banking financial institutions (NBFIs), development finance institutions (DFIs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are incentivized appropriately to provide cash flow management support, capital or digital services to B2B SMEs.
  • Improve the collection, analysis and availability of B2B SME data for use by governments and B2B SMEs.
  • Model best practices by buying goods and services directly from SMEs, adopting payment and invoice digitalization and increasing the credibility of emerging businesses.

“Collaboration is the key to developing a commercial landscape that is fit for future growth. Through effective partnerships, the public and private sectors can together create a supportive environment where SMEs can thrive. The contribution of small businesses to regional economies is ultimately about much more than the immediate gains to livelihoods – it’s also about the sustainable development of an ecosystem that can advance inclusive growth and prosperity for all. This is why it’s so important that we prioritize public-private partnerships for SME growth, and why we’re putting our technology, expertise and global network to work, helping to develop the infrastructure to connect more people – and more small businesses,” said Valerio Murta, Senior Vice President, Core Products Middle East and Africa, Mastercard.

Mastercard has successfully collaborated with regional governments to create growth opportunities for SMEs, by creating an ecosystem where small businesses can thrive.

In Egypt, Mastercard worked alongside the Central Bank to develop a comprehensive national digital payments strategy and digital payroll program, as a way to include more people in the formal economy.

Through its partnership with Saudi Arabia’s domestic payment network, mada, Mastercard became the first company to enable e-commerce in KSA.

In Ethiopia, Mastercard is working with the Ministry of Innovation & Technology to drive financial inclusion, support SMEs and enhance digital transformation readiness.

Through technology services, cyber assessments, insights, grants, digital training, mentoring platforms and knowledge initiatives, Mastercard will contribute $250 million over five years to support small businesses’ financial security globally. As part of its goal to build a more sustainable and inclusive world, Mastercard has committed to connect 50 million small businesses, including 25 million women entrepreneurs globally, to the digital economy by 2025.

Ends

To know more about the public policy paper Reimagining Support for Small Businesses, released by the Mastercard Policy Center for the Digital Economy in partnership with global consulting firm Kearney. 

About Mastercard (NYSE: MA), www.mastercard.com  Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. Our decency quotient, or DQ, drives our culture and everything we do inside and outside of our company. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all.

For further information please contact: Baiba.Upmale@mastercard.com 

Send us your press releases to pressrelease.zawya@refinitiv.com

© Press Release 2021

Disclaimer: The contents of this press release was provided from an external third party provider. This website is not responsible for, and does not control, such external content. This content is provided on an “as is” and “as available” basis and has not been edited in any way. Neither this website nor our affiliates guarantee the accuracy of or endorse the views or opinions expressed in this press release.

The press release is provided for informational purposes only. The content does not provide tax, legal or investment advice or opinion regarding the suitability, value or profitability of any particular security, portfolio or investment strategy. Neither this website nor our affiliates shall be liable for any errors or inaccuracies in the content, or for any actions taken by you in reliance thereon. You expressly agree that your use of the information within this article is at your sole risk.

To the fullest extent permitted by applicable law, this website, its parent company, its subsidiaries, its affiliates and the respective shareholders, directors, officers, employees, agents, advertisers, content providers and licensors will not be liable (jointly or severally) to you for any direct, indirect, consequential, special, incidental, punitive or exemplary damages, including without limitation, lost profits, lost savings and lost revenues, whether in negligence, tort, contract or any other theory of liability, even if the parties have been advised of the possibility or could have foreseen any such damages.


More From Press Releases