A- Population Growth Syria's population was estimated at 17.1 million in the year 2002. It more than doubled between 1970 and 1994, rising from 6.3 million to 13.8 million at an annual average rate of 3.3%. This rate of growth dropped between 1995 and 2000 to 2.7%.
B- Labor 200120001999199419811970 Year 1672016320161101378290466305 1-Population 123401202811229961258829039 2-Manpower(10yrs+) 995897028893760746613200 3-Labor Force (15 yrs+) 5275-5026403821351570 4-Economically Active Population (labor supply) 31.5%-31.2%29.3%23.6%24.9% 5-Average gross participation rate (4/1) 52.9%-56.5%53.1%45.8%49.1% 6-Average net participation rate (4/3) 1- Labor Supply Source: For (I, 2, and 3) above Statistical Abstract: 1999-2002, Syrian Arab Republic, for (4), Population Censuses 1970-1981. and 1994, Syrian Arab Republic. Multipurpose Survevl999. Syrian Arab Republic. Table (1)
Of the total number of working labor of 4,844,023 in 2001, male participation rate was 82.6% (4,001,565) and a female rate was 17.4% (842,458). 2- Labor And Gender FemaleMale 35.1 64.9 51.6 48.4 Urban Rural 100 Total
3- Employment in the Formal and Informal Private Sectors TotalFemaleMaleSector 26.0 34.8 39.0 0.2 34.2 32.4 33.0 0.3 24.3 35.3 40.3 0.2 Public Private Organized Private non-Organized Joint-Cooperative Table 3: Distribution of Employment by Public & Private Sector 2001 (%) Source: Labor Force Survey, 2001
C- Education University (6 years) 23 University (5 years) 22 University (4 years) 21 20 19 Intermediate Institutes (2years)18 Vocational Secondary School ( 3 years)General secondary school (3 years) 17 16 15 Preparatory School (3 years) 14 13 12 Primary School (6 years) 11 10 9 8 7 6 Pre-Primary (3 years) 5 4 Age 3 1- Education And Training Structure of the education system in Syria Figure 1:
2- Education And Skill Level Of Employment FemaleMaleCertificate % 60.8 7.5 7.8 16.1 7.7 100 513 63 66 136 65 842 % 67.3 13.8 8.2 5.0 5.8 100 2693 551 325 199 234 4002 Elementary school & lower Preparatory Secondary school Intermediate Institutes University Total Source: The Central Bureau of Statistics, Labor Market Survey 2001 Table 5: Distribution of Employees by Educational Level and by Gender in Both Private and Public Sectors 2001
3- Vocational Education and Training a- The Structure Of The Vocational Education And Training The Syrian vocational education and training system comprises Secondary (vocational secondary school) and post-secondary (intermediate institutes). 1. First level: secondary vocational education and training (grades 10 to 12).
b- Labor Training AbroadOutside the Establishment Inside the Establishment Economic Activity 5.320.774.0 Agriculture 23.234.842.0 Extraction industry 19.821.658.6 Manufacturing industry --- Water& Electricity --- Building & Construction 18.64.876.6 Trade 0.954.644.5 Communication & Transport -4.096.0 Services 17.526.056.5 Total Table 7: Labor Training by Sector and Location Source: Labor Market Census in the Syrian Arab Republic, 2000.
c- Public Sector Training Government sector training, in principle, is conducted in institutions related to each Ministry. d- Private Sector Training The Ministry of Education had already licensed 140 private training centers in foreign language courses, computer literacy, and certain mechanical and electrical courses. The Crafts Union had also licensed 106 training centers that are specialized in various craft training.
4- Higher Education Currently, Syria has four public universities in the major regions of the country. Curriculum Development The MOHE took up a strategy to develop the higher education in its different levels in the period 2000-2010. This expansion process is aligned with two major issues: 1) society and labor market needs 2) region's needs.
D- Unemployment 2001199919951981 61343227699 Total unemployed labor force (thousand) 11.2%9.5%6.7%4.8% Percentage of unemployed/labor force (%) (8.0%)(7.4%)(4.4%)(4.8%) Percentage of unemployed Males/labor force (%) (23.9%)(18.7%)(15.0%)(5.1%) Percentage of unemployed Females/labor force (%) 89.1%83.3%79%63% Percentage of unemployed for the first time/total of unemployed (%) Sources: Population and labor force Planning Department, Ministry of Planning, and Labor Market Survey 2001. Table 8: Unemployment in the Syrian Labor Market 1981-2001.
%Category Age 79.4%15-24 years 20.1%25 years and above Education Profile 73.9%Illiterate and up to the elementary schools level 19.4%Intermediate and High School level 6.7%Institutions and University Graduates Area Distribution 59.3%Rural 40.7%Urban Experience Profile 89.1%Unemployed with no previous experience 10.9%Unemployed with previous experience Unemployment Distribution by Age, Education Profile, Areas and Experience Profile in 2001 Table 9: Source: Labor Market Survey 2001.
% Economic Activity 14.9% Food Stuff and Beverages, Manufacturing Industries 10.3% Retail Trade and Commerce 9.2% Hotels and Restaurants 6.2% Plastic Manufacturing Products 5.7% Textile Industries 5.7% Non-Metallic Manufacturing Products 3.5% Chemical Manufacturing Products 3.5% Metal Reformation Industries 3.5% Tools and Equipment Industries 36.8% Other Activities Disguised Unemployment Percentage Distribution by Economic Activity Table 10: Source: Labor Market Census in the Syrian Arab Republic, 2000.
Regional distribution of Unemployment Unemployment is generally spread throughout Syria; however 36.5% of the unemployment is associated with the Eastern Region. 27.4% of Al-hasakeh's labor force was unemployed.
E- The Banking System In Syria Inefficient retail banking services and inability to cater to the financing needs of a rapidly growing private sector. Lack of diverse saving and investment instruments, and little experience in risk finance (requiring heavy finance collateral). Bank loans requiring very complicated and impractical procedure (which obliges investors to resort to informal channels to finance their projects). Rigid interest rate structure and inability to access international financial markets. Absence of a strong regulatory system in place at the Central Bank. The banking sector suffers from the following deficiencies:
Bank of Bahrain Housing Bank for Trade and Finance of Jordan BLOM Bank of Lebanon The Arab Bank of Jordan BEMO Bank of Lebanon In 2000, the government introduced several reforms in the banking sector The Syrian cabinet on the 22nd of December 2002 approved the request of 5 banks to work with local Syrian businessmen to set up private banks on-shore. These foreign banks are:
F- Legislation And Regulations Related To Investment Government sector training, in principle, is conducted in institutions related to each Ministry. The Ministry of Education had already licensed 140 private training centers in foreign language courses, computer literacy, and certain mechanical and electrical courses. The Crafts Union had also licensed 106 training centers that are specialized in various craft training.
A- An SME economy SMEs are an essential part of the Syrian economy and of the global economy in general. It may come as a surprise that more than 60% of the US economy comes from companies with less than 9 workers, which is considered the standard definition of an SME in most countries. Syria is an apparent example of this situation. SMEs employ the majority of the private sector work force that represents and there are almost 450,000 registered businesses most of whom recruit lest than 9 workers.
B- Contribution Of SMEs In The Labor Force It is estimated that 4.4 million people over the age of 15 are economically active in sectors dominated by SMEs. % of GDP % of total labor force Number (000)Activity 30321430 Agriculture 1713.1585 Industry 412.4554 Construction 2014.5648 Trade & Tourism 135.3237 Transport & Telecom. 1622.71014 Other services Table (12) Distribution of employees by economic activity & role in GDP Source: CBS, Statistical Abstract, 2001, Damascus
C- Role of SMEs in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) SMEs represent less than 9% of the Gross Domestic Product in Syria that was estimated at $13.5 billion in 2000to be $1.2 billion. The output of one SME employee is approximately $8,800 a year. SME Share of GDP (%) SME Share of the Sector (%) % of GDP Activity 155030Agriculture 5.13017Industry & mining 2504Construction 168020Trade & Tourism 2.62013Transport & Telecom 12.88016Other services Table (13) SME Share of GDP Source: Statistical Abstract, 2001, CBS,Damascus, and Author projections.
D- Role Of SMEs In Foreign Trade Available Statistics indicate that the share of SMEs is extremely very high in relative and absolute terms on the imports side. SMEs in Syria is to expand its share of exports from the current 18%, or the mere $728 million, to more than $ 5 billion a year before the turn of this decade. SMEs (90% of private sector) Total Private Sector Public Sector Activity 72847008093890 Export 277540763084992 Imports Table (14) Role of Public, Private, and SME sectors in foreign trade Source: Statistical Abstract, 2001, CBS, Damascus, and Author estimates
1- Absence Of a Pro SMEs Fiscal Policy This figure represents 30% of profits and 8.4% of turn over; not an encouraging factor in a global economy based on competitiveness. $ 100 $ 200 $ 240 $140 $100 $ 240 $ 3700 $ 600 $2160 $ 7620 Administrative License Renewal Tax: Real estate Tax: Employees Commercial Register Fees: Industrial Register Fees: Business Vehicle Fees: Bar code fees: Machinery tax: Income tax: Social Security Total a) b) c) d) e) f) g) h) I) J) k) Table 15 Source: Author, SME costs survey, 2002, Damascus.
2- High Variable Taxes And Fees Related To Exports Exports are calculated as increased profits and therefore lead to higher income taxes even though there are no direct taxes on exports per se. This situation creates a disincentive to exports.
3- No Breaks For Technological Innovations Technological innovations are considered new machineries and are not treated as productivity generators and hence new technologies create new burdens on SMEs.
4- Absence Of A Suitable Banking And Financial System Table (16) indicates the dominance of the public sector over total credit provided by the banking system to private and public sector over the period 1990-2000. 2000199919951990Sector $ 3.7 billion$ 3.6 billion$ 2.76 billion$1.18 billionPublic $ 1.3 billion$ 1.2 billion$ 1.0 billion$ 0.26 billionPrivate Table (16) Credit distribution by sector Source: CBS, Statistical Abstract, 2001, Damascus
In general terms the major obstacles for SMEs in the banking system are: A.High costs B.Slow processes C.Limited Credit purposes D.Absence of a financial system E.The new laws governing the private banking sector have no special reference to SMEs. F.Absence of micro finance schemes to serve SMEs in local communities in urban and rural areas.
5- Absence Of Training And Skills Development For Building Highly Skilled SME Workers Female %TotalFemalesMalesYear 319870301768531981 505805288729181989 5110392429860941990 4913114643866761998 559802538344191999 Table (17) Development of TVET graduates 1981-1999 Human Resource Development in Syria, Population Growth, Technology Capabilities, and the future of sustainable development in Syria, R.Helane et al, 2001, Damascus.
6- Lack Of International Marketing Experience A.Very limited institutional capacity in the area of export promotion and market research. B.The cost of acquiring market intelligence is inhibiting for SMEs. C.Absences of formal or vocational training in the field of export promotion or market intelligence in Syrian technical schools and universities. D.foreign markets data and intelligence gathering. E.Limited use of the Internet by SMEs in commercial activities due to many reasons including high costs of hardware, software and communications, the language barriers, and inhibiting accessibility policies. F.Absence of business incubators to support the export and R&D activities of small businesses
7- No Participation In National Or Sectoral Decision-making private sector participation in decision making and the majority of Syrian private businesses i.e. SMEs were never actively engaged. This absence from the economic decision making process was never more striking than in the process leading to the passing of the Investment Promotion law no 10 in May 1991. The law that aimed at encouraging direct foreign investments in the country required investors to have a foreign capital component in their investment no less than $200,000,
F- Government Employment Offices Labor Law No. 91 for the year 1959 created the employment offices in Syria and organized their activities. Law No. 3 was introduced in the year 2001, modifying the existing law and aimed to improve the efficiency of these employment offices.
The ACU, Agency for combating Unemployment FIRDOS: Fund for integrated rural development of Syria WHO World Health Organization MOH Ministry of Health UNDP United Nation Development Program AGA Khan Development Network SEBC – Syrian – European Business Center Mawred: Activities in Socio-economic Development JICA Karim Rida Said Foundation G- Organization Active in the Field of Microfinance
The ACU, Agency for combating Unemployment 2001.President Bashar al – Assad, passed law No. 71 estabishing the (ACU). The ACU is a public development and investment organization which enjoys financial and administrative independence. It was launched on December, 8.
FIRDOS: Fund for integrated rural development of Syria Firdos was founded by Mrs, Asma al Assad, which took the bold step of creating Syria's first NGO. FIRDOS' activities can be divided into three programme areas: Income. Generation, Basic Development Needs (BDN), and Education and Training. Each programme area comprises of a range of practical project type.
WHO World Health Organization The QOL programme uses the BMN approach which is a process of organizing and mobilizing community members to realize their health and development needs, and work collectively to achieve them. It is a community-based, community- managed and community-financed programme.
MOH Ministry of Health Healthy Villages A concept that aims at achieving a better quality of life. It is a participatory, dynamic process of integrated socio- economic development, based on self- reliance and self-management by organized communities supported through coordinated intersectoral action.
UNDP United Nation Development Program RCDP: is a development project works to instill a microfinance national economic instituational organization suits the prevailed moral constituations as a way to alleveate poverty and fight unemployment to access sustainable human development as it works on developing local community capacities to lead development process through a national microfinance cooperative.
AGA Khan Development Network The MCF began operations in the provinces of Tartous, Lattakia, Hama, and Aleppo since 2000, with the expection to expand to other areas in the future. The goal is to break the barriers to credit and provide access to those who otherwise would not be able to obtain a loan. The microfinance programme goes to the doorstep of the borrower, and tailors its approach to the needs of each community.
Government Credit Institutes Industrial Bank (Syria) Agricultural Cooperative Bank (Syria) Ministry of Finance (Syria) Popular Loaning Bank (Syria) Post – Office Saving Fund (Syria) Ministry Of Economy (New)
SEBC Syrian – European Business Center SEBC is a unique business service provider in Syria, focusing on the supply of business know-how, expertise and the development of local cosultancy skills. The Centre provides technical assistance to Syrian enterprises by assisting in the upgrading and development of their performance, capacity, knowledge, products and services.
Mawred Mawred is a Syrian non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing and activating the contribution of women in the development process. Established under the patronage of Mrs. Asma al-Assad in 2003 with the support of the Syrian-European Business Centre (SEBC)
Karim Rida Said Foundation The Foundation has run a Syria Disability Programme since 1996 in close cooperation with the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour and local non- governmental societies (NGOs). The Programme aims to improve the lives of disabled children and young people by improve the lives of disabled children and young people.