EBRD supports the development of micro and small enterprises

By Loretta  Martikian

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) continues to support viable micro and small enterprises (MSEs) by extending US$ 6 million equivalent in local currency to Credo, Georgia’s largest non-bank microfinance institution (MFI) with a strong presence in rural areas. The company will use the facility to on-lend to MSEs in all sectors of economy, while promoting industrial and residential energy efficiency among its clients.

With its 39 branches, MFI Credo has an extensive coverage across Georgia, providing financing to remote villages and micro borrowers. The EBRD first started working with Credo in 2008, when it extended the first MSE loan.

Bruno Balvanera, the EBRD’s Director for Caucasus, Moldova and Belarus, said: “The EBRD is increasing its efforts to further support the MSE sector, while continuing to educate clients about rational energy use. This is especially important because the availability of short and medium-term funding, particularly in local currency, remains limited. MSE borrowers whose revenue streams are predominantly in local currency are highly susceptible to exchange rate risks. Working with Credo, with its high regional outreach and service quality, is yet another successful step in our efforts to help companies to cut their energy use.”

Energy efficiency and the development of renewable energy sources are important in Georgia, where the consumption of energy, as measured against GDP, is 3.5 times higher than the European Union average, and where imports account for 80 per cent of energy consumption.

To date, the EBRD has invested a total of €1.8 billion for 158 projects in various sectors of the Georgian economy, and has mobilised a further €3 billion for these ventures from other sources of financing. In the Georgian power sector alone, the EBRD has committed over €250 million.