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EBRD supports businesses in North Macedonia following coronavirus crisis

By Axel  Reiserer

  • EBRD €20 million loan to Sparkasse Bank Makedonija for on-lending to local businesses
  • Helping the local economy overcome the coronavirus pandemic
  • EBRD steps up engagement under Solidarity Package

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is providing a €20 million loan to Sparkasse Bank Makedonija for on-lending to local private businesses and corporates affected by the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Less dependent on tourism than other countries in the Western Balkans, North Macedonia’s economy is strongly influenced by manufacturing and trade. New financing is vital to mitigate the current crisis and through Sparkasse Bank Makedonija the EBRD will be able to assist viable companies in need of support.

The EBRD has responded to the Covid-19 crisis swiftly with the launch of a Solidarity Package. The Bank expects the entirety of its investments of up to €21 billion in 2020-21 to be dedicated to the response to and the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

Sparkasse Bank Makedonija was established in 1992 and is a longstanding partner of the EBRD. Now part of Steiermaerkische Sparkasse and Erste Bank Group, the bank has a market share in North Macedonia of more than 5.5 per cent in the corporate segment. Its strong local network in the country will make financing for small businesses more widely available.

Andi Aranitasi, EBRD Head of North Macedonia, said: “We are proud to sign this agreement with Sparkasse Bank Makedonija today, our longstanding partner. The bank’s commitment to serve the private sector and its excellent outreach make it well placed to channel EBRD funds and provide help and liquidity to companies that are going through an unprecedented period of volatility. Providing financial help and liquidity to businesses during these difficult times is essential for supporting the entire economy of the country.”

Gligor Bishev, CEO of Sparkasse Bank Makedonija, stated: “Sparkasse Bank Makedonija is guided by the principles of socially responsible operations as part of the Steiermaerkische Sparkasse Group and in accordance with the measures adopted by the Ministry of Finance and the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia, has developed measures and solutions to support long-term viable businesses that today are negatively affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. We will continue through our partnership and support from the EBRD to work together with our clients in order to make the greatest possible contribution to minimising the negative effects of the coronavirus in our country.”

The EBRD is a major institutional investor in North Macedonia. To date, it has invested more than €2 billion in 133 projects in the country.

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