The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), the private sector arm of IDB Group, has launched a $100 million fund in Bahrain to invest in the country’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The Bahrain SME Fund has been launched in collaboration with Ibdar Bank and Bahrain Labour Fund (Tamkeen).
The Bahrain SME Fund is a Shariah compliant mezzanine private equity fund which will target SMEs with high growth potential in consumer, industrial, ICT, education, and healthcare sectors.
The fund is aligned with the bank’s mission to support Bahrain’s economic diversification through private sector growth, said Ahmed Al-Rayes, chief investment officer of Ibdar Bank.
Around 90% of Bahrain businesses are SMEs, and their contribution accounts for about 30% of the kingdom’s GDP.
Recently, the World Bank listed Bahrain and UAE among the world’s top 10 most improved economies for adopting reforms that make it easier to start and operate small and medium-sized businesses (SMES).
Gulf countries are among 137 economies around the world which have adopted key reforms to improve conditions for SMEs, according to the World Bank’s annual report on the ease of doing business.
The world’s top 10 improvers, based on reforms undertaken, are Brunei Darussalam, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Belarus, Indonesia, Serbia, Georgia, Pakistan, the UAE, and Bahrain, according to the Doing Business 2017 study.