Abu Dhabi Underlines Crucial Role of SMEs in Global Economy

Abu Dhabi Underlines Crucial Role of SMEs in Global Economy

His Excellency Rashid Abdul Karim Al Balushi, Undersecretary of the Department of Economic Development in Abu Dhabi, emphasized the significant contribution of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) to the global economy. Speaking at the Small and Medium Enterprises Conference during the Thirteenth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization in Abu Dhabi, Al Balushi highlighted that SMEs in Abu Dhabi constitute 98% of companies, employ over 46% of the workforce, and contribute more than 42.8% to the non-oil GDP of the emirate.

Al Balushi acknowledged the pivotal role of SMEs as drivers of innovation, job creation, and economic growth. Despite their importance, he noted that SMEs face challenges in participating in international trade, urging the need to address these hurdles to unlock their full potential and enhance their global economic contribution.

Recognizing the vital role of SMEs, the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development has launched initiatives such as the Abu Dhabi SME Export Program and the SME Financing Facility Programme. Al Balushi explained that these initiatives are designed to support the development and success of SMEs in Abu Dhabi, enabling them to overcome challenges and thrive globally.

He detailed the Abu Dhabi SME Export Program, which focuses on enhancing companies’ export readiness, raising awareness about export opportunities, conducting assessments, providing skills improvement opportunities, and supporting the expansion of their operations to meet international market requirements.

Additionally, the Undersecretary highlighted the SME Financing Facility Programme, aimed at improving SMEs’ access to banking services, facilitating growth, and contributing to sustainable development. This program streamlines processes for opening bank accounts and obtaining credit facilities, making it easier for SMEs to meet working capital requirements and expand their operations.

Al Balushi stressed the continued significance of SMEs in the UAE’s economy and highlighted the ongoing efforts to support their growth. He emphasized the need for further recognition of SMEs’ valuable role in economic development, citing that banks in the UAE provided AED 85.6 billion in financial facilities and loans to SMEs as of June 2023, representing 10.4% of total commercial loans and 4.4% of loans to the private sector.

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