The MED MSMEs Programme, in partnership with the APII, organized a workshop on January 12, 2021 aiming to present recommendations by the Programme’s experts on access of MSMEs to alternative funding. The event was coordinated by the National SBA Coordinator, Mr. Ali GOMRI, from APII. The proposed roadmap was discussed with regulators and stakeholders (including the Central Bank of Tunisia, the Financial Markets Council, the Supervisory Authority of microfinance, CDC, BFPME, Innov'I). This dialogue provides food for thought on regional and national activities to be implemented within the framework of four axes: the development of the FinTech sector, taking into consideration the European regulation of electronic payment services; the formulation of policies and regulations allowing MFIs to increase their loan size (up-scaling); the formulation of policies and initiatives improving access to finance for women entrepreneurs in Tunisia; and the formulation of development policies for alternative impact finance.
The participants underlined 1) the importance of communication enabling entrepreneurs to better understand the existing financing opportunities, in particular alternative financing which enriches the traditional financing offer, 2) the need to develop regulations allowing development alternative financing and fintech, and 3) the need to strengthen women entrepreneurship. Finally, the issue of evaluating the SME support initiatives launched in response to the COVID crisis was also addressed, with participants calling for an impact study to learn lessons for the future. A detailed roadmap will be finalized and presented during a round table with donors, following which regional and national actions will be launched.
An important milestone was reached by the MED MSMEs programme on January 12th, during a meeting to discuss the roadmap for the development of exports for Tunisian SMEs. Following the last working group meeting on the “Internationalization of SMEs” - which was held in November 2020 - the MED MSMEs team presented the two dimensions from the SME ecosystem that it intends to support during the year 2021: i) the use of digital technology to seize internationalisation opportunities, and ii) the participation of Tunisian SMEs in the evolution of global and regional value chains.
Actions planned under these two dimensions are a part of national strategies and aim to consolidate the mechanisms already in place in the fields of digitization and exports in Tunisia. Discussions between participants highlighted the importance of inter-institutional and public-private coordination for an effective deployment of instruments to support the internationalisation of SMEs, the need for regulatory framework reforms to succeed in the digital transition and development, and the provision of business intelligence services enabling SMEs to adapt to the changing value chains and seize new opportunities.
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