SMEs continue to drive regional growth: Report


KUWAIT: Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) continue to reinforce their position as one of the key pillars in the Middle East and North African region’s (MENA) economic landscape. In a recent study published by BLOOVO Middle East, 90 per cent of the total registered companies in MENA are SMEs. Currently in the GCC, SMEs employ approximately 17 million people and forecasts note that this number is expected to reach 20 million by 2020 at an annual growth rate of almost 2.5 per cent. The vast employment pool is a result of the large number of youth in the region’s population, 40 per cent of which is below the age of 25.

In line with this, many countries in the GCC have included the development of their respective SME segments as part of their long-term objectives and national agendas. To emphasize SMEs increasing importance to the region, the Stars of Business Awards was developed to provide further incentive and recognize notable companies within the sector for their achievements and distinguished business practices as key influencers.

Orient Planet, one of the fastest growing marketing and communications consultancies in the Middle East, has recently been recognized at the Stars of Business Awards 2016 Media category of the Middle East Stars of Business Awards. The honor was presented last Thursday, October 27 2016, at Atlantis, the Palm, Dubai. This recognition was organized by CPI Business in association with Presenting Partner National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Strategic SME Partner Etisalat.

Nidal Abou Zaki, MD, OPG, said: “It is an honor to be recognized for such an important award among notable companies within the region. Orient Planet has always tried to create business strategies that are in line with the goals set forth by the UAE Vision 2021. As SMEs are the backbone of the regional economy, and the UAE in particular, the public sector has continued to support the growth of this segment in line with its long-term economic agenda. Such accolades play an active role in enhancing and promoting SMEs within the country. As for Orient Planet, this will serve as further encouragement as we strive to create new benchmarks of excellence, pursue innovation and continuously instill the value of quality management across all our projects.”

In the UAE, SMEs account for more than 94 per cent of the companies operating and their total number have reached 350,000. They have long been considered as the strongest catalyst for economic diversification, innovation as they play a vital role in the nation’s shift to a knowledge-based economy and the public sector is committed to boost SME share in national economy to 70 per cent 2021.

According to a World Bank 2015 report, the UAE was ranked 58 among 189 countries on the ease-of-doing business. In the Middle East, UAE has been a frontrunner within the region in terms of business transactions. The growth and notable activity of SMEs have also reinforced the UAE’s position as an international business arena and a global business and trading hub.

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