EBRD, EU, Albanian government support tourism, agribusiness

By Svitlana  Pyrkalo

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  • EBRD signs a risk-sharing facility of up to €5.17 million with Intesa Sanpaolo Bank Albania
  • EU and government provide 10 per cent grant under Albania Agribusiness and Tourism Support Facility
  • So far, €70 million lent to 6,000 SMEs

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Intesa Sanpaolo Bank Albania, the European Union (EU) and the government of Albania are stepping up their support for companies in the country’s agribusiness and tourism sectors under the Albania Agribusiness and Tourism Support Facility (AATSF).

The EBRD is committing a risk-sharing facility of up to €5.17 million to Intesa Sanpaolo Bank Albania, which will provide loans to eligible firms in the agribusiness and tourism sectors. The funds will be provided through the AATSF, a framework aimed to improve access to finance for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in partnership with a number of commercial banks in Albania.

The facility also includes a 10 per cent investment grant for sub-borrowers in the agribusiness and tourism sectors, funded by the government of Albania and the EU, respectively. Borrowers will receive the grant incentive once their investments have been completed and verified. The facility will also benefit from a government-backed, first-loss risk cover mechanism.

Ekaterina Solovova, the EBRD’s Head of Albania, said: “This signing represents another significant milestone in the implementation of this joint framework with the EU and the Albanian government. We are pleased to step up our support for the Albanian tourism and agribusiness sectors and to further build on our excellent cooperation with Intesa Sanpaolo Bank Albania.”

Alessandro D’Oria, CEO of Intesa Sanpaolo Bank Albania, added: “This agreement will further accelerate the development of sustainable financing in the agricultural sector, which is one of our strategic goals in the coming years. Intesa Sanpaolo Bank Albania has always supported the tourism sector of the country with loan facilities. Extending the facility to include tourism companies offers a great opportunity to support an important economic sector and job creation for the youth.”

Up to €180 million has been allocated to date under the AATSF for specialised credit lines and risk-sharing facilities through local partner banks. Since its launch in 2016, more than €70 million in loans have been committed, benefiting more than 6,100 local agribusiness SMEs. The AATSF complements the EU’s instrument for pre-accession assistance for rural development (IPARD), which has channelled financing to numerous beneficiaries through the AATSF.

In addition to financing instruments, the EBRD is providing technical assistance to both financial institutions and sub-borrowers through the EBRD’s Advice for Small Businesses programme in Albania.

The EBRD is a leading institutional investor in Albania, focusing on the sustainable development of the private sector, building on the strong entrepreneurial spirit in the economy, enhancing the commercialisation of infrastructure projects, and promoting sustainable energy and environmentally sound investments. To date, the Bank has invested €1.78 billion in 125 projects in the country.

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