How to support small businesses in the southern Mediterranean? Femise researchers are answering this question by comparing four cases, Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia.
The difficulties are primarily structural. The infrastructure, roads in particular, and the existence of a corruption-breeding shadow economy present serious challenges.
SMEs also suffer as a result of their size, which makes it difficult to secure credit and access markets, as well as limiting the possibilities of acquiring competencies internally.
Clear disparities between the countries
There are also disparities within the countries themselves. In Morocco, SMEs in the clothing and food-processing sectors experience more financing difficulties than those in the IT sector.
Regional differences have also been unveiled. In Algeria, businesses based in small towns experience more difficulties than those in large urban areas in terms of access to advice services and fulfilling administrative requirements.
The Femise report makes six propositions to governments in two categories.
One on hand basic reforms are needed, such as strengthening training policy, simplifying business licensing, integrating the shadow economy and establishing a dynamic tax system.
On the other hand there are the measures which accompany these reforms, such as building relationships between large and small businesses through sub-contracting agreements, the creation of business clusters and releasing finance to SMEs, via structures such as the Federation of Egyptian Industries, to facilitate their development internationally.
Article par Mathieu Bouchard, Econostrum. www.econostrum.info.
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