• Saudi Arabia plans new SME bank to underpin local funding

    Saudi Arabia’s government has approved the establishment of a new bank for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

    The SME Bank is part of the kingdom’s 2030 Vision

    The new bank, dubbed The Bank of Small and Medium Enterprises, will fill local funding gaps.

    “The SMEs Bank brings together all financing solutions under one umbrella,” says the Saudi Ministry of Commerce. It adds the bank gives SMEs access to “appropriate financing” to help them “achieve stability and growth”.

    Saudi Arabia’s press agency (SPA) adds the bank will “apply international best practices in cooperation with partners”. It will build a “portfolio of appropriate products for each segment”.

    Development of the new lender is spearheaded by the country’s General Authority for SMEs, also known as Monshaat.

    Monshaat is also leading 16 other initiatives and nine “pivotal” initiatives. It claims to have disbursed $8.6 billion since 2018.

    “The establishment of the bank was based on a benchmarking study that included 14 countries,” says the SPA.

    “To discuss best practices in supporting financing small and medium enterprises, analysing the current situation and identifying financing gaps.”

    Saudi Arabia’s central bank has recently announced its plans for an open banking go-live in 2022. It says it is “confident” it can go-live with no issues in line with the country’s Saudi Vision 2030 initiative.

    Related: Saudi start-up Hakbah raises $1.2m in seed funding

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