EBRD and Amen Bank cooperate to support international trade in Tunisia

By Nibal Zgheib

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Amen Bank today signed two trade finance agreements that will enable Amen Bank to help local companies increase international trade.

Amen Bank is the first financial institution in Tunisia to join the EBRD’s Trade Facilitation Programme (TFP), which promotes and facilitates international trade to, from and within central and eastern Europe, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the southern and eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) region.

Under these agreements, the EBRD will provide guarantees to international commercial banks thereby covering the political and commercial payment risk of transactions undertaken by Amen Bank, as well as offer short-term trade finance cash advances for on-lending to clients of Amen Bank who are involved in international trade.

“This will help local businesses access global markets which in turn will spur economic growth in the country,” said Ahmed El Karm, President of the Executive Board of Amen Bank.

Marie-Alexandra Veilleux, EBRD Head of Office in Tunisia, said: “Under the trade finance facility, the EBRD will enhance the capacity of Amen Bank to support more Tunisian exporters and importers and increase the volume of trade between Tunisia and other countries. This is essential at a time when Tunisia needs trade finance in order to pursue export-led growth for its economic advancement. Such transactions underline our commitment to Tunisia.”

Launched in 1999, the TFP aims to promote foreign trade to, from and among the EBRD’s countries of operations. Through this programme, the EBRD provides guarantees to international confirming banks and short-term loans to selected banks and factoring companies for on-lending to local exporters, importers and distributors.

The TFP currently involves over 100 partner banks in 22 countries where the Bank invests, with limits exceeding €1.5 billion in total, and more than 800 confirming banks worldwide.

About Amen Bank

Amen Bank is second-largest private bank in Tunisia. At the end of 2013, it had total assets of TND 7.2 billion, TND 4.9 billion in deposits, 143 branches and six majority-owned subsidiaries involved in various areas of finance. Amen Bank is a leader in several market niches such as trade finance, FX transactions, project and company finance and internet banking.