On June 24th INSME President Sergio Arzeni participated to the International Arab Banking Summit, held in Rome under the High Patronage of The Prime Minister of Italy, Mr. Mario Draghi. During the event, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between INSME and the Union of Arab Banks (UAB). Signing on behalf of UAB was Sheik Mohamed Jarrah AL-Sabah, Director General/Chairman of the Board, Arab Monetary Fund, UAE. Through the signing of this document, the organisations intend to establish a framework for cooperation with the aim to contribute to the integration and the social and economic development of the Euro-Mediterranean region with an emphasis on promoting access to finance and innovative, inclusive and sustainable private sector development. The organisations committed to improve access to finance for SMEs and new entrepreneurs by reinforcing the role of SMEs in inclusion, diversification and job creation to overcome informality, particularly for women and youth. Promoting formal entrepreneurship and the growth of SMEs integration of people and firms into the formal economy, with increasing use of digital technologies. The Italian Undersecretary of State, Mr. Manlio Di Stefano, described the MoU as an excellent sign for cooperation.
The event, held in person after over a year, was an occasion to bring together bankers and stakeholders worldwide, to discuss not only to role and objectives of Arab banks, but of the banking community in general. The agenda included various panels, ranging from “Post Crisis Banking Recovery Strategies” to “The Role of Sustainable Finance in Rebuilding Resilient Economies in MENA and Europe”. The focus of the panel discussions was the upcoming debt crisis, which is soon to follow the pandemic, as state measures to contrast the economic crisis have given was to a surge in debt around the world, but core importance was also given to environmental sustainability, and to how ESGs and, ultimately, the people must be at the centre of future policy to build back better, or, as some have put it, to “build forward better”.
Presidents Arzeni, during his Keynote Speech, highlighted the importance for SMEs to increase access to digital tools, in order to increase efficiency and transparency to reduce business risk, lower operating costs, and increase customer sales. He then added that “the Digital Economy Platform seamlessly integrates the Banking industry to all sectors within the B2B marketplace, providing enormous opportunities to expand the global GDP. The strength of a country’s socioeconomic fabric depends significantly on the ability of MSMEs not only to survive, but to thrive!”