Kafalah Saudi program reaches 10,000 SMEs milestone

The Kafalah Program has brought forward more than 10,000 success stories covering a wide range of industries and sectors. (Photo credit: kafalah.gov.sa)
Updated 25 March 2018
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Kafalah Saudi program reaches 10,000 SMEs milestone

RIYADH: The amount of funds granted by banks and guaranteed by the Kingdom’s Kafalah Program (SME Financing Guarantee Program) for small- and medium-sized enterprises has exceeded SR21 billion ($5.6 billion) until the end of 2017. The move is significant considering that one of the main goals of Vision 2030 is to raise the GDP contribution of SMEs in the Kingdom from 20 to 35 percent.
This was disclosed by Homam Abdul Aziz Hashim, Kafalah’s director general, on Saturday. Hashim said: “The Saudi banks collaborating with the program confirmed their strong commitment to empowering small- and medium-sized enterprises and facilitating their success, thereby contributing to the national economy.”
He said the Kafalah Program has brought forward more than 10,000 success stories covering a wide range of industries and sectors. In 2017 alone, the number of small- and medium-sized companies participating in Kafalah reached 1793, an increase of 4.9 percent compared with 2016, he added.
“The program aims to overcome an obstacle often faced by SMEs, namely the inability to access adequate funding or to provide the required bank guarantees.” Addressing this crucial topic, the program was established to cover the risk of the bank in case of failure of the enterprise, he noted.
He pointed out that the services of the program are being expanded, aiming to further increase the number of beneficiaries. “The issuance of a royal decree to assign an amount of SR800 million to drive the growth of the private sector is expected to make a major positive impact in this regard,” he added. Through the launch of new products, Kafalah seeks to stimulate the financing of SMEs in line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, he said.
“From a modest start in its first year, when Saudi banks provided SR22 million in financing to 36 small and medium enterprises, today Kafalah is well positioned as a pioneering program which will contribute to achieving one of the most important objectives of the Vision 2030,” said Talat Hafiz, secretary general of the Media and Banking Awareness Committee and spokesman of the Saudi banks.
Hafiz said: “The steady increase in the number and value of guarantees and the high demand by participating banks showcases the success of the forward-thinking concept of the program, with the main objective being the development of this crucial sector of the local economy in lockstep with many developed nations such as the US and the European Union.”


Riyadh book fair hears lecture on Bahrain culture industry

Updated 21 March 2019
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Riyadh book fair hears lecture on Bahrain culture industry

  • Professor Diaa Al-Kaabi presented a survey of all aspects of Bahraini culture, from the early 19th century until the present day
  • She also highlighted the role of prominent Saudis in the founding of major cultural institutions in Bahrain

RIYADH: Riyadh International Book Fair on Wednesday hosted Dr. Diaa Al-Kaabi, who gave a lecture on the role of culture in Bahrain, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The academic, who is a professor at the University of Bahrain, highlighted the role of prominent Saudis in the founding of major cultural institutions in Bahrain. She named Muqbel Al-Zukair, and the families of Al-Gosaibi, Al-Bassam, Al-Ajaji, Al-Mashari and others, as pioneers.
She also mentioned the cultural agreement that was signed in 1974 between the Kingdom and Bahrain as the first such agreement signed between the two Gulf states.
Al-Kaabi presented a survey of all aspects of Bahraini culture, from the early 19th century until the present day. She highlighted major trends in Bahrain’s cultural industry, and the role of societies, theaters and universities, as well as state institutions, in promoting the nation’s culture to an international audience.
She addressed the beginnings of the cultural movement under Sheikh Issa bin Ali, which she considered as the founding of the country’s cultural consciousness. 
It heralded the age of enlightenment in Bahrain, which was part of the modern Arab Renaissance starting from the early nineteenth century, she said.
Al-Kaabi concluded her lecture by stressing that culture, if nurtured, could be a pillar of economic development as it provided many job opportunities and its revenues were high. 
Bahrain is the guest of honor at the fair, which runs until March 23.
A Bahraini pavilion will host 13 cultural events including poetry nights, seminars and children’s programs over the course of the fair. In total, more than 900 global publishing houses are set to participate, with 500,000 books and publications on display, and up to a million visitors expected to attend.