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Private Sector and Enterprise Development

Fostering Growth in the Middle East and North Africa

Lois Stevenson

This important and well-researched book examines the challenges to private sector growth in twelve Middle East and North African (MENA) countries, assessing comparative performance against a number of indicators and focussing on the special role of SMEs and entrepreneurial activity.
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Chapter 7: Entrepreneurship: A Platform for Future Private Sector Growth

Lois Stevenson


Numerous private sector development (PSD) challenges facing the MENA12 countries have been described in the preceding chapters. The scope of these challenges and types of policy response depend on the specific context in each country. The situation in poor and conflict countries will demand a broader PSD policy reform effort than in countries with greater political stability and more supportive PSD environments. However there is room in each of the countries for improvements in private sector performance as the mechanism for addressing their socio-economic and growth challenges. Policy advice to MENA-12 countries by international organizations emphasizes macro- and meso-level reforms to improve the business environment and investment climate with the expectation that benefits will trickle down to the level of domestic micro, small and medium enterprises (SMEs). However this policy advice may not be sufficiently focused on micro-level reforms to strengthen the capacity of existing SMEs to take advantage of the opportunities offered by a better investment climate and to foster a larger supply of competent entrepreneurs motivated to invest in and start new enterprises. Stronger SMEs and more competent entrepreneurs do not just automatically spill out from regulatory and structural reforms. Their capacity has to be built within the context of a supportive culture. Potential and existing entrepreneurs need guidance in how to recognize and assess business ideas and opportunities, and support in converting these opportunities into successful businesses that can meet the needs of local and foreign markets. The premise of this chapter is that SME and entrepreneurship...

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