On November 1, the Deauville Partnership with Arab Countries in Transition, under the U.S. G8 Presidency, met in London at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to discuss the development and promotion of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the transition countries of Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, and Jordan. For the first time, Yemen joined the discussion as a new country in transition within the Deauville Partnership.
The Deauville Partnership with Arab Countries in Transition, formed in the aftermath of the Arab Spring by the 2011 French G8 Presidency, includes G8 members, the European Union, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, multilateral development banks, and regional partners comprising the governments of Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. The G8 at the 2012 Camp David Summit in May, and other partners at the United Nations General Assembly Deauville Partnership Foreign Ministerial in September, identified the development and growth of small and medium-sized enterprises as critical steps towards economic reform, employment stability, and prosperity in the Middle East-North Africa region.
In London, transition countries, in consultation with experts from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), developed country-specific, near-term action plans to foster SME growth, improve job creation, and increase economic development.
Following the transition countries’ presentations of their action plans in London, partners will continue to collaborate, in particular with multilateral institutions, to provide functional expertise and technical assistance. Given challenges related to reform of the regulatory environment, market access, and access to finance, these institutions and G8 and regional partners will help structure arrangements that give current and prospective business owners a stable operating environment, useful advice, and support to start up, grow, and sustain their businesses.
Work at the Deauville Partnership meetings in London to support the development of SMEs will be further promoted at the Forum for the Future Ministerial to be held in Tunis December 12-13. The Forum will bring together the G8, regional governments, civil society, and the private sector to discuss specific ways to help improve the SME environment throughout the Middle East and North Africa region, drawing on the progress and commitments made in London.