UAE SMEs set to boost GDP share to 70 per cent
The UAE is giving big priority to small and medium enterprises across policies and initiatives with an aim to boost the share of the segment in national economy to 70 per cent from 60 per cent by 2021, Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy said on Wednesday.
He said SMEs, which account for 86 per cent of the total workforce in the country, are the chief enablers of economic diversification, innovation and the shift to a knowledge-based economy,
In his keynote address on the final day of Mena-Oecd Working Group on SME Policy and Entrepreneurship, Al Mansouri said SMEs account for more than 94 per cent of the companies operating in the UAE and their total number is 350,000.
"As many as 73 per cent companies in the wholesale and retail trade and 16 per cent in the services sector are SMEs. The manufacturing sector also has an 11 per cent share for SMEs. Together, these SMEs contribute to 86 per cent of the total workforce in the UAE and account for a GDP share of 60 per cent," said Al Mansouri.
The minister mentioned some of the strategic measures being taken towards the goal of achieving a GDP share of 70 per cent from the SME sector by 2021.
"The President, His Highness Shaikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan issued the Federal Law No: 2 of 2014 to regulate the relationship between all government institutions and entrepreneurs of small and medium enterprises sector. The law is a turning point in empowering people and realising the aspirations of our younger generation," said Al Mansouri.
"In June 2015, the Cabinet headed by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, also established a council to drive growth of SMEs and entrepreneurs in the country," Al Mansouri said, adding that regional and international collaboration will help achieve the SME development goals of the country," added the Minister.
The two days of discussions focussed on reforms and improvements required to accelerate the growth of SMEs in the region. Delegates explored areas for greater co-operation between the Oecd and countries of the GCC. Meanwhile, the Mena-Oecd Working Group on SME and Entrepreneurship Policy, held on the second day brought together Mena policymakers and representatives from SME agencies, the private sector and regional and international organisations to define priority areas of work to support enterprise growth, access to finance and SME integration in global value chains.
Ambassador Marie-Claire Sward Capra, Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Delegation of Sweden to the Oecd, and Co-Chair of the Mena-Oecd Competitiveness Programme said the meeting in Dubai had provided an important occasion for Mena and Oecd partners to strengthen their commitment towards SME development.
"SMEs and entrepreneurs, especially women and young entrepreneurs offer a great opportunity for the development of the Mena region when the right policies are put in place. The Oecd and Sweden will remain active and engaged in supporting the Mena region in this endeavour," said the ambassador.