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EBRD and Gaziantep Chamber of Commerce join forces to support businesses in Turkey’s south-east

By Olga Rosca

Partners aim to deliver more and better services to private companies in the region

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Gaziantep Chamber of Commerce (GCC) are joining forces to support and encourage entrepreneurship in the south-eastern Turkish city of Gaziantep and its surrounding region. 

The two partners will work together to strengthen the ability of the GCC to deliver more and better services to private sector companies in Turkey’s south-east and build the economic resilience of the region which has been deeply affected by the influx of refugees from neighbouring Syria. 

Resilience is one of the six transition qualities the EBRD has identified in its approach to the countries where it invests, with competitiveness, green, governance, integration and inclusion being the other key elements.

As part of the project, the EBRD and the GCC will identify opportunities and barriers for the private sector in the region, including enterprises led by refugees. Based on these data, new services will be designed and put in place to help entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) reach their full potential. The project will be implemented by the Confederation of Danish Industry and SPARK, a Dutch NGO focused on education and entrepreuneurship in post-conflict communities.

Marking the beginning of the project today, Beyhan Hıdıroğlu, GCC President of the Board of Directors said: “The private sector is the driver of 9 out of 10 new jobs created and key for economic growth. By strengthening the capacity of the Chamber to better serve SMEs and entrepreneurs, we are tackling one of the main challenges in our region today: how to sustain and develop new jobs and businesses. We believe that by the end of the project we will be able to better meet the needs of SMEs in our region, including those that are refugee-led, through improved strategic planning and enhanced or new support mechanisms.”  

Gökhan Karaçetin, Head of the EBRD’s Gaziantep office, added: “The EBRD is committed to building the economic resilience of south-eastern Turkey. We are already offering advisory services and training courses for businesses. Stepping up our efforts, we are joining forces with the Gaziantep Chamber of Commerce to help it become an even stronger voice of the regional business community.”

As part of building economic resilience in Turkey’s south-east, the EBRD, which has had an office in Gaziantep since 2014, has recently provided a €5 million loan and €5 million grant to the municipality of Gaziantep for the acquision of 50 new green buses. The Bank is also providing financing of €80 million for a new state-of-the-art hospital to be built in the city under the public-private scheme. It is also working with Turkish banks to provide loans to small businesses active in refugee-hosting communities, boosting local economies and creating employment opportunities.

Turkey is a top destination for the EBRD’s finance, with €1.9 billion invested in 2016 alone. To date the Bank has invested over €9 billion in Turkey through more than 220 projects across sectors and has mobilised nearly €20 billion for these ventures from other sources of financing. Some 98 per cent of the Bank’s investments in Turkey are in the private sector.

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