Jun 27, 2022

Emirates Development Bank showcases its pivotal role in achieving financial inclusion for SMEs in UAE


Marking the occasion of Arab Day for Financial Inclusion


Abu Dhabi, 1 May 2022: The Emirates Development Bank (EDB), a key financial enabler of the UAE’s economic diversification and industrial transformation agenda, has restated its commitment to financial inclusion in the UAE with a range of financial solutions and services that enhance the bankability of the country’s SMEs and startups.

On the occasion of the Arab Day for Financial Inclusion, which is celebrated on April 27 of each year, EDB has reaffirmed that it is able to empower SMEs through direct or indirect financing, including a credit guarantee program offered in partnership with nine commercial banks, and through digital solutions that ensure entrepreneurs and business owners are able to access secure, comprehensive, round-the-clock banking services that support their operations.

Ahmed Mohamed Al Naqbi, Chief Executive Officer of EDB, said: “There is a clear correlation between financial inclusion and development, and it is critical that businesses, entrepreneurs and SMEs have access to the financing they need to scale, expand and succeed. Under the EDB’s mission to enable the UAE’s economic and industrial agenda, and in line with our commitment to create a supportive environment for business, we offer a patient debt approach with flexible pricing and tailored financing solutions for SMEs, that widen financial inclusion in the UAE. Moreover, our digital banking services enhance the bankability of SMEs– and ultimately sustainability – of this vital sector of the economy.”

Al Naqbi added: “The goals of financial inclusion are also served by our unique evaluation of a company’s eligibility for financing based on its economic development impact. EDB has developed proprietary ‘Developmental Impact Scorecard’ that measures the likes of GDP growth, job creation potential, in-country value, economic sector and existing access to finance, on top of the standard risk and profit calculations, enabling the bank to support projects that offer developmental benefits with flexible financing solutions that may not be available through more traditional banking channels.”


EDB has launched key new services that support financial inclusion, including its digital solution for SMEs and start-ups, which resulted in more than 1,000 new accounts being created within the first six months of its launch. The digital solution allows SMEs and start-ups to open an account and reserve an IBAN number in a matter of hours and facilitates access to secure, convenient and flexible digital banking services 24/7. In its first 6 months, over 1000 digital banking accounts have been registered.

Recently, EDB announced the launch of the AED100 million Sanad initiative to accelerate the growth of Emirati owned and managed SMEs following Covid-19. Financing requests through Sanad are processed within five working days with the credit assessments based primarily on their 2019, pre-Covid financials, with relaxed norms on the evaluation of their 2020-2021 financial performance.

To mark the Arab Day for Financial Inclusion, EDB participated in an event organized by the UAE Central Bank. Shaker Zainal, EDB’s Director of Business Finance, presented an overview of the bank’s commitment to financial inclusion through the various customized and flexible financial solutions and products offered to SMEs and entrepreneurs.

The Arab Day for Financial Inclusion was launched through an initiative by the Council of Arab Central Banks and Monetary Authorities’ Governors in 2016. The Council adopted the 27th of April of each year to celebrate this occasion while defining the main objectives of supporting inclusive and sustainable economic development, address unemployment challenges, and achieve social justice.  


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