Tunisia: Experts meet to find alternatives to bank financing

Dec 11, 2013

Tunisian businesses are struggling to access bank financing , according to participants at the "Journées de l'entreprise", a business forum which took place last week in Tunis in the presence of experts, donors and entrepreneurs.

Tunisian businesses are struggling to access bank financing , according to participants at the "Journées de l'entreprise", a business forum which took place last week in Tunis in the presence of experts, donors and entrepreneurs.

According to former Governor of the Central Bank of Tunisia Mustapha Kamel Nabli - quoted by newspaper La Presse - banks did not support companies in their development: "From 1996 to 2011, only two percent of companies with fewer than 50 employees managed to bring their workforce to over 100 employees," he said.

SMEs received only 15 percent of bank loans , although they account for 90 percent of the economic fabric, and provide 70 percent of jobs, according to figures from the Ministry of Finance .

Participants discussed several alternative financing mechanisms to improve access to credit for SMEs, such as the stock market, private equity,
Business angels or crowdfunding.

But according to Mohamed Louzir - a partner at an international consulting firm - although private equity funds have liquidities, requests for funding
are
low compared to other financing methods, La Presse reports.

The lack of transparency of some companies and the fact that many of them are not yet profitable hinder their access to financing by private equity, according to experts.


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