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EBRD, EU and ProCredit help Bosnian SMEs to Go Digital

By Bojana Vlajcic

  • New financing to boost competitiveness and support the digital transformation of small businesses in Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Fostering SME investments in technology and automation to help meet EU standards
  • EU grants to help make investments more affordable

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is extending a €5 million loan to ProCredit Bank in Bosnia and Herzegovina, backed by grants from the European Union (EU), under the recently launched Go Digital in Bosnia and Herzegovina programme. The proceeds will be used to help small firms invest in the digitalisation of businesses processes and to improve productivity, operational efficiency and resilience.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will be able to apply for funds to invest in hardware and software for various digital transformation projects in the area of digital communications, information and IT security, digital company management and digital production processes and services. The aim is to boost the digital transformation of SMEs and make them more competitive in EU markets and compliant with the standards required by EU Directives.

In addition to loans, SMEs will benefit from grant incentives worth up to 15 per cent of the total loan amount. These incentives are funded by the EU.

Manuela Naessl, EBRD Head of Bosnia and Herzegovina, said: “We are pleased to partner with ProCredit Bank and to sign the first specialised credit line for digitalisation in the country under our Go Digital in Bosnia and Herzegovina programme. Many SMEs in Bosnia and Herzegovina still have a long way to go to catch up with their peers in Western Europe. Faster digitalisation and digital integration will improve their competitiveness and efficiency and help the country grow."

Amir Salkanović, President of the Management Board ProCredit Bank d.d. Sarajevo, added: “What matters is that small and medium-sized businesses maintain their agility and capacity to position themselves in the local, regional, and European markets. I am confident that company executives understand what makes them stronger, more efficient, and more resilient, and that digitization, with components of energy efficiency and sustainable energy production for their own purposes, is high on their priority list. In this regard, I believe that the Go Digital credit line, which includes a grant as part of the credit arrangement, will serve as a motivation for investment and further improvement in our economy's most productive and crucial sector. Ultimately, we are really excited to begin another innovative chapter with the EBRD.”

The EBRD has secured €40 million in loans for the joint EBRD-EU Go Digital in Bosnia and Herzegovina programme, while the EU has secured grants of €9 million for incentive payments, advisory services and programme technical assistance. The programme will be accompanied by activities from Germany’s Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), which will work with the government and stakeholders to help build an ecosystem for digitalisation, automation and innovation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, including digital innovation hubs, in line with EU best practice.

The programme contributes directly to the European Commission’s Digital Agenda for the Western Balkans, which aims to support the transition of the private sector and help businesses fully secure the benefits of the digital transformation of the economy.

Since it began operating in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1996, the EBRD has invested more than €2.8 billion in 203 projects in the country.

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