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Workshop tackles financing SMEs

By Petra - Mar 12,2016 - Last updated at Mar 12,2016

AMMAN — Achieving sustainable economic growth and empowering small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are among top national priorities, Central Bank of Jordan (CBJ) Governor Ziad Fariz said on Saturday.

At a workshop organised by the Italian embassy in Amman in cooperation with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), CBJ and the Association of Banks in Jordan, Fariz underlined the role of SMEs as they constitute some 95 per cent of the national economy, supporting growth and development, besides helping to curb unemployment and poverty.

SMEs contribute to employing around 70 per cent of the private sector's workforce and account for some 40 per cent of the gross domestic product, he indicated.

Fariz spoke about financing SMEs in Jordan and government and CBJ endeavours in enabling them reach funding resources. 

The governor said, “the biggest challenges facing SMEs include providing guarantees, lack of credit information and  insufficient knowledge of bank administrations in such kind of financing.”

He added that the government and CBJ launched financing programmes in cooperation with international donors, and established a credit bureau, a national fund for financing start-ups and another fund for guaranteeing  loans. 

Italian Ambassador to Jordan Giovanni Brauzzi said enhancing the SMEs sector in Jordan through expanding the scope of  financing is considered a main pillar in the Jordanian development strategy.

Like Jordan, the Italian economy relies on SMEs which form 90 per cent of the economy and play a vital role in the economic growth and the country's development process, Brauzzi added.

Economic similarity between Italy and Jordan, along with "distinguished" political relations, encourages Italy to support the Kingdom, he added, mentioning the $400 million Italy announced at the London donor conference  to help Jordan and Lebanon respond to the Syrian refugee crisis.

 

EBRD Head of Office in Jordan Heike Harmgart said helping SMEs reach financing sources is a strategic concern for the bank which considers the sector as the backbone of any economy.

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