MENA-OECD Working Group on SME Policy, Entrepreneurship and Human Capital Development


17 July 2012, Rome, Italy


Promoting private enterprise development is crucial to unlocking the growth potential of Middle East and North African (MENA) economies. During this meeting, participants discussed policies to accelerate the development of two categories of firms with high potential impact on job creation and growth: high performance enterprises and women-led enterprises.

Meeting participants also shared tools to strengthen evidence-based policy making through improved data collection on entrepreneurship and access to finance.

The one-and-a-half day event was hosted by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It brought together policy makers in charge of enterprise policy from both MENA and OECD economies, as well as private sector representatives, international organisations and experts.

Key expected outcomes of the meeting included:
• The launch of an OECD-IDRC report on Policies for High Performance Young Enterprises in MENA;
• The definition of country-specific work on policies to promote high performance enterprises; and 
• The development of guidelines for strengthening policies and measures to promote entrepreneurship, including women’s entrepreneurship, in selected countries. 


About the Working Group

The MENA-OECD Working Group on SME Policy, Entrepreneurship and Human Capital Development is co-chaired by one MENA country (currently Tunisia) and one OECD member country (currently Italy). Its objective is to engage partners in regional dialogue and peer review on issues specifically pertaining to SME growth and development and entrepreneurship promotion.

Participants in WG2 are policy-makers from key institutions in charge of enterprise policy, such as the Ministry of Industry and Economy, SME Development Agencies, and Investment Promotion Agencies. The participation of relevant policy-makers from the Ministry of Finance, Trade, Labour and Education, development banks, government economic research centres, etc. are also encouraged. The private enterprise and financial sector are the primary beneficiary of the initiative and actively participate in WG2. Other participants also include international organisations (the World Bank, UN agencies, the EC, the Arab League, etc.) and international and local experts who share good practices and regional experiences from both, the OECD and the MENA regions.


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