The MENA-OECD Working Group on SME Policy and Entrepreneurship was held on May 28-29, 2024, in Cairo, Egypt. The meeting brought together high-level policymakers focused on SME and entrepreneurship promotion from MENA (Middle East and North Africa) and OECD economies, alongside representatives from the private sector, international, and regional institutions.

The event, under the theme “Empowering MENA’s SMEs: Navigating Digitalisation, Green Growth, Access to Finance, and the Informal Economy”, provided a platform for participants to discuss policy strategies and best practices aimed at enhancing the resilience and competitiveness of MENA’s SME and entrepreneurship ecosystem.

Additionally, a dedicated session on public-private dialogue initiatives allowed participants to share experiences and discuss opportunities and challenges in designing effective policy solutions through these collaborative mechanisms.

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is a diverse region, affected by economic and political transformations, but with a potential for more and better growth. It benefits from a privileged geographic location with access to large markets; a young and increasingly educated population; and comparative advantages in several sectors such as manufacturing, renewable energies and tourism.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, MENA economies are implementing reforms to build a resilient and more inclusive economic model to improve growth, governance structures, diversification, employment, private sector development and integrity. The MENA-OECD Initiative on Governance and Competitiveness for Development, initiated and led by the region, supports these reforms through an inclusive and co-ordinated approach, innovative policy dialogue, links between key stakeholders, peer learning and capacity building.

The MENA-OECD Initiative covers Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestinian Authority, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates and Yemen.