Posted by: The Financial

The FINANCIAL — The EBRD is providing Banque de Tunisie with a financing package that consists of a €50 million loan for on-lending to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and a US$ 20 million trade finance line that is expected to be signed shortly.

The SME market segment accounts for more than 90 per cent of all businesses in Tunisia. It is therefore a vital engine to provide jobs, build a modern diverse economy and to boost long-term, sustainable growth, according to the EBRD.

The available finance will provide businesses with new opportunities for further development, especially entrepreneurs who are currently under-served in the country’s regions.

In addition, the international trade finance line will contribute to the development of international and regional trade with Tunisian companies.

The European Union (EU) is providing grant support for this transaction as part of an overall €27.6 million in funding channelled through the EBRD to boost financial inclusion in the southern and eastern Mediterranean region.*

“This financial package will provide much-needed access to finance for Tunisian businesses, which will have an important knock-on effect in creating new employment opportunities,” said Antoine Sallé de Chou, the EBRD’s Head of Tunisia. “Thus, we expect it to bring substantial benefits, not only to the Tunisian business community, but also to the local population in general. It is part of our commitment to building competitive, inclusive and well-integrated economies across the region, together with our partners.”

Patrice Bergamini, the EU Ambassador in Tunisia, stated: “We are delighted that these new funds will help unlock additional finance to help SMEs grow. The EU is delighted to work with the EBRD as an entrusted partner to create new jobs, build a successful and dynamic SME sector and better lives for people in Tunisia and across the whole region.”

Since September 2012, when EBRD operations began in Tunisia, the Bank has invested €390 million through 27 projects in the country. Supporting the regional development of the country outside Tunis is a special priority for the Bank and the EBRD therefore opened a second office in October 2016, in Sfax.