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EIB pushing financing for Mediterranean small businesses




The European Investment Bank is urging Mediterranean banks to provide financing to small, very small and medium-sized businesses. In Tunisia, the partnership with Réseau Entreprendre could be duplicated.



Marion Hoenicke, head of division Lending Operations in neighbouring countries banks, and Laurent Nicolaï, Loan Officer Lending operations in neighbouring countries banks, based in Luxembourg (photo F.Dubessy)
Marion Hoenicke, head of division Lending Operations in neighbouring countries banks, and Laurent Nicolaï, Loan Officer Lending operations in neighbouring countries banks, based in Luxembourg (photo F.Dubessy)
MEDITERRANEAN. "We want to support the private sector in the Mediterranean as widely and as comprehensively as possible." Marion Hoenicke, head of division, bank lending operations in neighbouring countries at the European Investment Bank (EIB) is working to increase aid measures for small, very small and medium-sized businesses. To this end, she has a wide range of financing options at her disposal, including loans, guarantees and capital investment as well as consultancy services.

"Supporting businesses and financing infrastructure go hand in hand. The private sector needs infrastructure to be able to function," she says. To create an investment-friendly environment and help the private sector grow, the EIB is therefore investing also in the energy sector, transport and telecommunications, human and social capital (hospitals, research centres, social housing...) and the environment. "With each financing facility, we consider energy efficiency and climate change," underlines Hoenicke.
 
The EIB has been lending to the private sector for more than twenty years in the form of package loans with very attractive financial and repayment terms. Thus, the organization has granted €500M in loans to SMEs in the last eighteen months.

Taking SMEs out of the informal and into the formal economy,

In October, 2015, the 15th FEMIP (Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership) conference, held in Luxembourg, decided to work towards boosting innovation, entrepreneurship and employment in the Mediterranean Basin.
As Marion Hoenicke points out, "In Tunisia, the banking sector is in dire need of liquidities, which makes expanding our intermediary loans to banks easier. In Morocco, the sector is more structured and fundraising is carried out on a more diversified base."

"Our operations on the southern shore of the Mediterranean concentrate on providing in-depth support for SMEs to improve their access to bank financing. With our loans and loan terms, we encourage Tunisian banks to finance SMEs and smaller project carriers," explains Laurent Nicolaï, in-charge of loans in neighbouring countries at the EIB.

In September, 2015, and in partnership with Réseau Entreprendre, the Bank allocated a €50M package to Amen Bank for Tunisian SMEs. "The partnership also includes coaching, supervision and favourable financial terms," adds Nicolaï. In Tunisia, the EIB is currently working on a third and fourth financing facility with other partner banks.
 
"We would like to recreate this model in Morocco or Lebanon with Réseau Entreprendre or other associations," declares Marion Hoenicke. "This approach contributes to the businesses' financial inclusion. By accepting a loan, the SMEs sign up to a transparency charter and therefore adhere to rules on best practices, taking SMEs out of the informal and into the formal economy," notes Laurent Nicolaï.


Frédéric Dubessy, in LUXEMBOURG


Tuesday, January 5th 2016



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