Loans granted to Tunisian SMEs increases

Jan 20, 2012

A bank dedicated to financing small and medium enterprises (SMEs) has approved financing to 363 projects in Tunisia by 83.7 million dinars (€42.7 million), compared with 286 projects in 2010 for a total of 68.3 million dinars - an increase of 23 percent, La Presse newspaper reports.

The Bank of Financing Small and Medium Enterprises (BFPME)
has approved financing to 363 projects in Tunisia totalling 83.7 million dinars (€42.7 million), compared with 286 projects in 2010 for a total of 68.3 million dinars.

This represents an increase of 23 percent, La Presse newspaper reports.

Several factors can explain this increase. According to the OECD Observatory, Tunisian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) often face difficulties accessing finance as it is granted upon a viable feasibility study as well as real guaranties required by lenders.

However, SMEs in their start-up phase often do not have the financial capability to finance these studies made by specialised consultant firms and create their own studies. Banks often judge these inadmissible.

This is why the Tunisian government has introduced a mechanism to finance up to 70 percent of the cost of the study.

Regarding the difficulties linked with presenting guaranties, the SOTUGAR institution was created to guaranty loans granted to SMEs.

According to a 2011 report from the Union of Arab Banks and the World Bank called The status of lending in the Middle East and North Africa region, the ratio of loans to SMEs compared with whole loans in North Africa is 13 percent. In Tunisia, this figure is 15 percent and in Morocco 24 percent.

This is a percentage higher than many other African countries thanks to guaranty schemes offered by governments, the report states, but the figure is relative as SMES represent more than 95 percent of all businesses in North Africa.ADNFCR-2976-ID-801270978-ADNFCR