EBRD supports trade in Lebanon

By Nibal Zgheib

EBRD supports trade in Lebanon

  • EBRD signs US$ 75 million under the Trade Facilitation Programme (TFP).
  • Bank Audi will become the third issuing bank in Lebanon.
  • Financing to support import and export activities of small and medium-sized businesses and intra-regional trade.

Strengthening trade from and within Lebanon, the EBRD is providing a US$ 75 million trade finance line to Bank Audi, the largest commercial bank in Lebanon and one of the leading regional banks. By joining the EBRD’s Trade Facilitation Programme (TFP), Bank Audi will become the third issuing bank in Lebanon.

The accord will allow Bank Audi to benefit from EBRD trade finance guarantees which cover the political and commercial payment risk of trade transactions. The facility will support regional integration through trade and increased access to finance for importing and exporting firms in Lebanon, especially small and medium-sized enterprises.

Launched in 1999, the EBRD’s TFP aims to promote foreign trade to, from and among the EBRD regions. Through the Programme, the EBRD has financed more than 22,500 foreign trade transactions for a total of more than €16.5 billion. Currently over 100 issuing banks in 26 countries participate in the Programme, together with over 800 confirming banks and their subsidiaries around the world.

In September 2017, Lebanon joined the EBRD’s Southern and Eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) region, which is currently the fastest-growing region of EBRD’s operations. The region includes Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia, where the EBRD has been investing and has engaged in policy reforms since 2012, as well as the West Bank and Gaza since May 2017. In only six years, the EBRD has invested over €8.2 billion in 196 projects across the SEMED region, including six projects in Lebanon.

The EBRD also became a shareholder in Bank Audi in March 2018, with a 2.5 per cent participation in the latter’s common equity. Subsequently in November 2018, EBRD signed with Bank Audi the first Green Economy Financing Facility (GEFF) in Lebanon, providing US$ 100 million to finance green projects as well as targeted technical assistance, which was matched with an additional US$ 100 million by Bank Audi to fund similar projects.