By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 30 April 2014:
Libya Enterprise (LE), the SME department of the Ministry of Economy, signed an MoU with WYG-Upper . . .[restrict]Quartile Consortium today at a signing ceremony held at LE ‘s headquarters in the Hay Al-Andulus district of Tripoli.
The MoU is phase two of an initial agreement signed by the two parties in January part of a three year GBP 2.3 million (LD 4.6 m) technical assistance programme funded by the UK government. The new agreement which will run from May to October 2014 is a continuation of phase 1 which includes a series of joint activities, including supporting a conference on “increased access to finance by SMEs” later this summer.
The programme also aims to support three key Libyan institutions that support the development sector: The Ministry of Economy and its LE department; the Ministry of Labour; and the Chambers of Commerce.
The work with the Ministry of Economy and LE is to promote the private sector and job creation especially for youth . With LE specifically, the MoU aims to build capacity at the existing Incubator Centres and Enterprise Centres.
The Enterprise Centres aim to help businesses improve, apply and obtain loans, create business plans ultimately with the target of accessing loans from the newly created Loans Guarantee Fund. There are currently 13 Enterprise Centres all over Libya and 5 Incubator Centres.
With regards to the technical assistance for the Ministry of Labour, this involves two WYG-Upper Quartile employees embedded in the Ministry, explained Ross Wain, Programme Manager of the technical assistance programme, who are tasked with helping set up 3 pilot job centres based on international best practice.
The third part of the agreement is to work with Libya’s various Chambers of Commerce.
The aim of these modern job centres is to reduce the time it takes a job-seeker in finding a job. Work on this is ongoing on strategy, explained Wain, and looking at training needs for staff and the development of an action plan.
The website upgrade is meant to illustrate the depth of activities and new features offered by LE, Rafal Soin, IT Project Director explained. It is designed to be used as a communications tool for users and will become a one-stop shop for Libyan SMEs wishing to use LE’s facilities – including loans to be offered by the new SME funds. The website is created to be an upgradeable and flexible site that would expand and grow with the activities of the LE department, explained Soin.
It will be recalled that the Ministry of Economy has established 5 investment funds totaling LD 1 Billion to support micro, small and medium size enterprises (MSMEs) in five cities (Tripoli, Benghazi, Misrata, Derna and Sebha).
An agreement with the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), a member of the Islamic Development Bank Group (IDB) has been signed, where it will also contribute an additional US$50 million to the fund to help structure various financing mechanisms that address the needs of SMEs, and to help unemployed Libyan youth establish their own business.
While the fund is not yet operational, the Ministry of Economy has agreed its internal reules and regulations this week. The funds proposes to support the private sector enterprises as follows:
- Micro businesses to receive: LYD1,000 – 100,000
- Small: LYD100,000 – 1 Million
- Medium size: LYD1 Million – 5 Million (required to co-fund at least 10% of the financing)
The LE Investment fund will also encourage the commercial banks to extend credit to the MSME sector through the issuance of ‘loan guarantees’ for MSME borrowers who lack appropriate collateral to secure commercial bank financing. [/restrict]