EBRD, EU and Attijari bank strengthen small businesses in Tunisia

By Nibal Zgheib

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  • EBRD risk-sharing framework with Attijari Bank
  • Loan of up to TND 20 million to Compagnie Internationale de Leasing
  • Funds for on-lend to Tunisian MSMEs, including women-led SMEs supported by the European Union

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), supported by the European Union (EU), is facilitating access to finance for Tunisian micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).

The Bank is providing Attijari bank with an unfunded risk-sharing guarantee on 50 per cent of a loan to Compagnie Internationale de Leasing (CIL), one of the largest leasing companies in the country, which is listed on the Tunisian stock exchange.

Under the EBRD Risk Sharing Framework, Attijari Bank will extend a loan of up to TND 20 million to CIL for on-lending to local MSMEs, which are its core customers and in need of financial support to cover liquidity shortages due to the coronavirus pandemic.

CIL will channel part of the financing to women-led SMEs, which will also benefit from technical capacity building.

The loan is being supported by the EU as part of its Financial Inclusion Initiative, a programme aimed at helping MSMEs in the southern and eastern Mediterranean become more competitive. The programme provides funding and know-how to boost the development of SMEs and create jobs.

MSMEs in Tunisia remain underserved by the banking and financial sector and have been hard hit by the Covid-19 crisis, especially those that generate the majority of their revenues from the tourism, hospitality, services, transport and other heavily affected sectors.

Support for the country’s small businesses is a priority for the EBRD in its work to strengthen the Tunisian economy. The Bank’s investments aim to support Tunisia’s competitiveness by opening up markets and strengthening governance, promoting the economic inclusion of women, young people and those living in remote areas, strengthening financial-sector resilience and supporting the country’s green economy transition.

Since the start of its operations in Tunisia in 2012, the EBRD has invested close to €1.4 billion in 56 projects across the country and supported more than1,400 SMEs with EU-funded technical assistance.

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