Fostering entrepreneurship through proactive policies


A joint event of the MENA OECD Investment Programme and Enterprise Financing Network


Manama, Bahrain, 18-19 November 2008





Countries participating in the MENA-OECD Investment Programme expressed in various meetings their interest in supporting initiatives aimed at improving the business environment and building capacities for entrepreneurship and small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) development. To this end, MENA government officials, private sector representatives, and academics were invited by the MENA-OECD Investment Programme to participate in a two-day event on fostering entrepreneurship through proactive policies hosted by the MENA Centre for Investment on 18-19 November 2008.  The event constituted the MENA-OECD Working Group on SME Policy, Entrepreneurship and Human Capital Development , and was held back-to-back with the 4th meeting of the MENA-OECD Enterprise Financing Network©. 


Participants discussed horizontal policies relating to SMEs, including policies for high-growth enterprises, access to finance and skills development, in addition to debating the effects of the global financial and economic crisis on the region.  Leading up to 2009 MENA-OECD Ministerial Conference, the working group will develop a set of regional guidelines as well as proposed pilot projects in selected countries.  The MENA-OECD Enterprise Financing Network© will support the launch of two business plan competitions through the MENA 100  and MENA 21.


 Meeting documentation



Conclusions WG2

Conclusions EFN


 Meeting presentations


Panel I: Promoting High Growth Enterprises – Key Issues

Jordan’s Industrial Policy, Dr. Jamal Mahasneh, Head, Industrial Policies Division, Industrial Development Directorate, Ministry of Industry and Trade, Jordan

Arab Regional Center for Entrepreneurship & Investment Training ,Mr. Afif Barhoumi, Investment Promotion Expert, UNIDO Bahrain

Project for Establishment of SMEs Development Agency in Palestine
Dr. Hazem Shunnar, Assistant Deputy Minister, Ministry of National Economy, Palestinian Authority

Promoting High Growth SMEs Key Issues, Antonio Fanelli, Deputy Head, Private Sector Development Division, OECD


Panel II: Access to Finance in Times of Financial Crisis

Bridging the financing gap for SMEs, Mr. Patrick Kormawa, Coordinator, International Financial Institutions and Partnerships Unit, UNIDO Headquarters (Vienna)

SMEs Conference Bahrain, Mr. Saleh Hussain, Vice-Chairman, Bahrain Association of Banks

Access to Finance in the MENA Region – Recent developments and Challenges, Anthony O’Sullivan, Head of Division, Private Sector Development, OECD

Panel III: Bridging Skills Gap and Fostering

Bridging Skills Gap and Fostering Entrepreneurship, Mr. Mohamad Khawaja, Deputy Director, Queen Rania Center for Entrepreneurship, Jordan

Bridging Skills Gap and Fostering Entrepreneurship: The Syrian Experience, Mr. Paul Gadegaard, Syrian Enterprise and Business Centre, Syria

Developing Entrepreneurial Skills in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia , Dr. Nabil Shalaby, Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Saudia Arabia