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EBRD and Raiffeisen Bank Albania boost agribusiness and tourism

By Joel Cela

  • EBRD signs a risk-sharing facility of up to €12 million with Raiffeisen Bank Albania
  • Ten per cent investment incentives directed to sub-borrowers in the agribusiness and tourism sectors
  • The agreement, first established for agribusiness, has been extended to the tourism sector

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is boosting its support for agribusiness and tourism in partnership with Raiffeisen Bank Albania, the government of Albania and the European Union (EU). The Bank is providing a €12 million risk-sharing facility under the Albania Agribusiness and Tourism Support Facility (AATSF).

The AATSF is a unique framework tailor-made for Albania to support two vital but under-financed sectors of the country’s economy. It aims to improve access to finance for small and medium-sized enterprises and corporates in collaboration with commercial banks in Albania. The AATSF also includes an investment incentive of 10 per cent directed to sub-borrowers in the agribusiness and tourism sectors, funded by the government of Albania and the EU, respectively. The government will back the facility with a First Loss Risk Cover.

This risk-sharing facility is an amendment to an agreement already in place with Raiffeisen Bank Albania for the agribusiness sector, under the former Albania Agribusiness Support Facility (AASF), which was signed in 2019 for a portfolio of up to €35 million. A tranche of €12 million has been committed, under the portfolio. The agreement has also expanded to include the tourism sector, a valuable source of income for the country.

Ekaterina Solovova, the EBRD Head of Albania, said: “We are proud to build on our successful partnership with Raiffeisen Bank Albania, expanding to such an important sector as tourism. We believe in the potential it represents for the Albanian economy, as recently demonstrated by one of the most successful tourism seasons for the country. With the right support, such as tailor-made financial products like the AATSF, the sector can flourish further.”

Elona Mullahi (Koci), Raiffeisen Bank Albania’s Board Member for Corporate, added: “We are pleased to expand our partnership with the EBRD and, through this facility, to reaffirm our customer-centric approach. We are particularly excited about extending this support to the thriving tourism sector, acknowledging its significant role in Albania's economy. Raiffeisen Bank Albania is committed to empowering local businesses, operating in sectors that contribute significantly to economic growth. Our partnership with the EBRD demonstrates our dedication to these vital sectors and our customers.”

As well as better access to finance, sub-borrowers under this facility will receive advisory services on business and know-how from the Bank’s Advice for Small Businesses programme. 

Since 2016, when the AASF was launched, more than €110 million in loans has been committed, benefiting more than 6,200 local agribusiness SMEs. More recently the facility was extended to include tourism SMEs.

The EBRD is a leading institutional investor in Albania and has been active in the country since 1991. To date the Bank has invested €2 billion in over 140 projects in the country.

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