Mauritius launches programme to improve access to credit for SMEs

Dec 06, 2011

On December 2nd, a support programme for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) was introduced by the Bank of Mauritius.

On December 2nd, a support programme for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) was introduced by the Bank of Mauritius.

Its objective is to help SMEs access credit. Over the next few years, Rs1 billion (€25.5 million) per year will be available as loans for these businesses granted by the country's 14 banks.

The loans will have a preferential rate fixed at three percent above the key rate and will be guaranteed at 35 percent by an equity fund, introduced by the government.

This guarantee fund is an important part of the initiative, according to L'Express de Maurice newspaper, as managers of the island's SMEs believe the difficulties they have in providing "traditional" guaranties are a major challenge to accessing credit.

However, according to Professor in Economics at the University of Mauritius Chandan Jankee, other measures are necessary to improve access to credit, especially financial training.

He believes that "the government must re-evaluate its SME support strategy and should massively invest in training these entrepreneurs".

According to African Economic Outlook, SMEs were the main job creators during the financial crisis. In 2007, the number of SMEs on Mauritius and Rodriguez Island was 91,980, compared with 74,930 in 2002, figures from the Central Statistics Office show.
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