Al Rajhi Bank, a platinum sponsor at the summit, recently asserted that Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 economic development plan will unlock the full potential of the SME sector by addressing the challenges they encounter and by focusing on initiatives to increase the size of the SME segment and its participation in and contribution to GDP.
One way of increasing SME participation is to increase support and access to finance. If trade finance products and solutions were composed of low technical skills or terminology the products will be more accessible to SMEs. As such, SMEs will have resources to draft more innovative and offer other standardised products.
Sidh N C director, QnA International, said, “SME financing is a challenging issue that cuts across the GCC. There is a need for new financial tools, products, and policies to ensure the SME segment does not stagnate. At the summit, we will hear about the unique challenges SMEs face, and potential solutions to these from professionals in the banking and finance sector.”
A highly anticipated section of the summit are discussions and sessions on the current economic, financial and trade environments in Saudi Arabia, the GCC region and globally.
The changing roles of banks and financial institutions will also be a highlight. Currently, there are liquidity squeezes in the Saudi markets and interest rates are on an inclining trend. As such, corporate organisations are beginning to explore methods for reducing borrowing costs and enhancing working capital management.
A method of attempting this is by utilising the power of the organisations’ credit rating and leveraging relationships with suppliers and accounts receivables. However, banks, too, have started to respond to requirements emerging from corporate organisations by innovating new products and solutions through supply chain finance solutions.
Information and data
Al Rajhi Bank suggested that banks can play an advisory role by providing SMEs and other organisations information and data required for developing strategic visions for expansions across customer segments and markets and the support and guidance necessary for managing and growing their businesses in a more efficient manner.
Trade finance, which represents a considerable percentage of international trade, is the tool of choice for most corporates for trading mega deals with suppliers and with high-risk developing countries, will undoubtedly be the central focus at the summit.