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Mishel Ghassibe, Maximiliano Appendino, and Samir Elsadek Mahmoudi

cent of the labor force, and these shares are likely to be higher if one includes the informal sector where SMEs are even more prevalent. However, the same study also highlights that SME access to finance in the Middle East and Central Asia is low compared to other countries with similar levels of economic development. In this paper, we offer some empirical evidence on the effect of greater SME financial inclusion on macroeconomic policy efficiency, employment and economic growth in the Middle East and Central Asia regions. Effective macroeconomic policy is key for

Mishel Ghassibe, Maximiliano Appendino, and Samir Elsadek Mahmoudi
This paper offers empirical evidence that greater financial inclusion of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can promote higher economic growth and employment, especially in the Middle East and Central Asia regions. First, we show that countries with higher SME financial inclusion exhibit more effective monetary policy transmission and tax collection. Second, we find substantial employment and labor productivity growth gains at the firm level from access to credit, gains that are higher for SMEs. We also obtain evidence of a substantial positive impact on SME employment and labor productivity growth from improved credit bureau coverage and insolvency regimes. Finally, cross-country aggregate evidence confirms the employment and growth gains from SME financial inclusion, which appear larger in the Middle East and Central Asia than in other regions.
Mr. Armand P Fouejieu, Anta Ndoye, and Tetyana Sydorenko
Countries in the MENAP and CCA regions have the lowest levels of financial inclusion of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the world. The paper provides empirical evidence on the drivers of SME access to finance for a large sample of countries, and identifies key policy priorities for these two regions: economic and institutional stability, competition, public sector size and government effectiveness, credit information infrastructure (e.g., credit registries), the business environment (e.g., legal frameworks for contract enforcement), and financial supervisory and regulatory capacity. The analysis also shows that improving credit information, economic competition, the business environment along with economic development and better governance would help close the SME financial inclusion gap between MENAP and CCA regions and the best performers. The paper concludes on the need to adopt holistic policy strategies that take into account the full range of macro and institutional requirements and reforms, and prioritize these reforms in accordance with each country’s specific characteristics.
Mr. Armand P Fouejieu, Anta Ndoye, and Tetyana Sydorenko

the usage of financial services by firms of different sizes, focusing in particular on the role of specialized lenders, such as leasing and factoring companies and low-end financial institutions such as cooperatives, credit unions and microfinance institutions. Their findings indicate that a higher weight of specialized lenders is associated with a higher likelihood of obtaining overdraft facilities or loans for SMEs. This paper seeks to inform policymakers by identifying the main constraints to SME financial inclusion. It takes a comprehensive approach, looking

Mishel Ghassibe, Maximiliano Appendino, and Samir Elsadek Mahmoudi

Front Matter Page Middle East and Central Asia Department Contents I. Introduction II. Macroeconomic Policies and SME Financial Inclusion III. Employment and Labor Productivity Gains from SME Financial Inclusion IV. Middle East and Central Asia in a Cross-Country Perspective V. Conclusion Figures Figure 1. PCA Measure Versus World Bank Measure Figure 2. PCA Measure Versus Share of Rejected Loans Figure 3. PCA Measure Versus Financial Inclusion Gap between Large Firms and SMEs Figure 4. Output Gap Response to 100bp Nominal Interest

Mr. Nicolas R Blancher, Maximiliano Appendino, Aidyn Bibolov, Mr. Armand Fouejieu, Mr. Jiawei Li, Anta Ndoye, Alexandra Panagiotakopoulou, Wei Shi, and Tetyana Sydorenko
The importance of financial inclusion is increasingly recognized by policymakers around the world. Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) financial inclusion, in particular, is at the core of the economic diversification and growth challenges many countries are facing. In the Middle East and Central Asia (MENAP and CCA) regions, SMEs represent an important share of firms, but the regions lag most others in terms of SME access to financing.
Mr. Nicolas R Blancher, Maximiliano Appendino, Aidyn Bibolov, Mr. Armand Fouejieu, Mr. Jiawei Li, Anta Ndoye, Alexandra Panagiotakopoulou, Wei Shi, and Tetyana Sydorenko

Introduction Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) financial inclusion is at the core of the economic diversification, growth, and job creation challenges in the Middle East and Central Asia (MENAP and CCA) regions. 1 Financial inclusion is taking higher priority in many countries and in the international policy agenda, such as through the Financial Inclusion Action Plan endorsed at the 2010 G20 Summit in Seoul. In the MENAP and CCA regions, many countries face formidable challenges to stronger and more inclusive growth and a more vibrant private sector

Mr. Armand P Fouejieu, Anta Ndoye, and Tetyana Sydorenko

Front Matter Page Middle East and Central Asia Department Contents Abstract I. Introduction II. Stylized Facts A. Data B. Methodology for the SME Financial Inclusion Index III. Drivers of SME financial inclusion A. Empirical framework B. Results IV. Conclusion References Appendices

Mr. Nicolas R Blancher, Maximiliano Appendino, Aidyn Bibolov, Mr. Armand Fouejieu, Mr. Jiawei Li, Anta Ndoye, Alexandra Panagiotakopoulou, Wei Shi, and Tetyana Sydorenko
The importance of financial inclusion is increasingly recognized by policymakers around the world. Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) financial inclusion, in particular, is at the core of the economic diversification and growth challenges many countries are facing. In the Middle East and Central Asia (MENAP and CCA) regions, SMEs represent an important share of firms, but the regions lag most others in terms of SME access to financing.