(MENAFN - Arab News) The SME Loan Guarantee Program (KAFALA) has achieved Mohammed Bin Rashid Award for Young Business Leaders as Best Development Fund for 2013 in the Arab world.
Osama Al-Mubarak, acting chairman of the program, received the award during the ceremony held recently in Dubai with the support of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, UAE vice president, prime minister and ruler of Dubai.
The award has been given to KAFALA from Mohammed Bin Rashid Award For Young Business Leaders as a tribute to its efforts and contributions in enhancing and developing the SMEs' sector in the Kingdom, and also in involving the Saudi banking sector toward expanding its role in supporting and financing SMEs.
Ali Al-Ayed, GM of Saudi Industrial Development Fund and chairman of the advisory board for KAFALA Program, expressed his thanks and appreciation for the continuous support of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Organization for young business leaders for creating a competitive environment among the entrepreneurs in the Arab world.
On the other hand, Al-Ayed mentioned that the main role of the program is in developing the SMEs' sector, and expanding its beneficiary base and creating new employment opportunities that would contribute to reducing unemployment rates, due to continued support from Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah and the crown prince, as also from the Ministry of Finance to the program and his role in overcoming the difficulties facing it.
Al-Ayed announced that since its initiation at the beginning of 1426H up to the end of 1434H, the Program issued a total of 6,757 guarantees for a total sum of SR3.4 billion against the total approved financing of SR6.8 billion." He added: "Within the framework of balanced regional development, the program management focused on distribution of guarantees in a manner calculated to ensure optimized use of guarantees by all of the Kingdom's administrative regions, and among different economic sectors such as construction, commercial, industrial, finance and business, and others, where it is estimated that the program has created till the end of 1434H around 15,500 jobs."
The KAFALA Program is due to the collaboration between the Ministry of Finance, represented by the Saudi Industrial Development Fund (SIDF), and Saudi banks, which aims to promote financing to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) within the Kingdom.
The programs' activities are not simply limited to the issuing of guarantees for SMEs, but they also embrace training, education, and development of SME owners and related parties in collaboration with the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group; the Institute of Banking established by Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA); and the participation of the Saudi banks and chambers of commerce and industry.