ECI, RAKBANK to support international expansion of SMEs - GulfToday

ECI, RAKBANK to support international expansion of SMEs


Top officials during the signing ceremony.

Etihad Credit Insurance (ECI) has inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the National Bank of Ras Al Khaimah  (RAKBANK) to assist local SMEs in accessing international markets via a number of financial services and educational tools.

Under the agreement, UAE-based businesses will gain access to a portfolio of financial services and solutions such as trade credit insurance (both conventional and Murabaha), credit risk management solutions, SME funding, export financing, corporate financing and letters of credit confirmation.

The MoU was signed by Massimo Falcioni, Chief Executive Officer at ECI, and Peter England, Chief Executive Officer at RAKBANK, in the presence of other senior officials from the respective institutions.

According to the Ministry of Economy, the SME sector comprises 94 per cent of the total number of companies in the UAE and provides employment for over 86 per cent of the private sector workforce. The UAE government is committed to boosting the contribution and performance of local SMEs and has taken a leading role in establishing strategic initiatives to support funding for the sector.

The partnership is aligned with the UAE’s drive to enhance non-oil industries, thereby promoting diverse and sustainable growth for the UAE economy. Local SMEs will also benefit from access to market intelligence and a series of seminars that will advise business owners on the importance of trade protection solutions when expanding into new markets.

CEO of ECI commented, “SMEs play a crucial role in the development of the UAE economy. From job creation to innovation and growth, their contribution to the country’s economy is substantial. We are pleased to partner with RAKBANK, a dynamic financial institution in the UAE, that is not only known for its extensive range of conventional and Shariah-compliant banking services but for its solutions for supporting the advancement of the SME sector. The MoU with RAKBANK provides a direction towards supporting the UAE’s diversification strategy and achieving ECI’s objectives in line with UAE Vision 2021. This agreement will assist the expansion of the SME sector by offering market intelligence and easier access to financial solutions, encouraging local businesses to contribute directly to the sustainable development of the UAE economy while tapping into new geographies.”

CEO of RAKBANK said, “This partnership is in line with one of our core strategic pillars - to diversify our offer for business customers beyond regular lending. We are pleased to be working with ECI to provide business owners with the set of tools needed to ease the access to new markets and grow their businesses, which in turn will stimulate the UAE economy’s growth. Our approach is to offer customers a complete suite of financial products and advisory services to help them grow and achieve their business objectives.”

Meanwhile last month Etihad Credit Insurance (ECI), has awarded a macroeconomic and industry specific data services contract to Fitch Solutions. Through intelligent and timely credit market data, analytical tools and risk services, ECI will be in a stronger position to bolster the implementation of UAE’s non-oil diversification strategy.

Commenting on the announcement, Massimo Falcioni, CEO of ECI, said, “The signing of this agreement will help us in proficiently servicing UAE businesses vital to the development of the country’s non-oil segments. Working closely with Fitch Solutions will also allow us to explore opportunities and provide essential support to UAE businesses. This further augments the support that we extend to homegrown companies with activities focusing on the export and re-export of UAE goods, works, services, and the foreign investments of the UAE businesses.”

“Our partnership with Fitch Solutions reinforces our vision to support local businesses in the pursuit to global competitiveness, while understanding their needs and challenges and developing solutions to help them become major contributors to the UAE economy,” said Falcioni.

Christine Baulmann, Managing Director, Head of Emea Sales, Fitch Solutions, said, “We are excited to partner with Etihad Credit Insurance to offer our macroeconomic and industry specific data services. This will allow ECI to access essential macroeconomic data that can help them in performing risk assessments of local companies, especially those involved in export and trade activities. Likewise, ECI will be able to provide these UAE exporters and traders with information that will assist them to expand internationally, making them become more globally competitive as well as driving growth.”

Fitch Group is a global leader in financial information services with operations in more than 30 countries. Fitch Group is comprised of: