EIF signs guarantee agreements with 11 banks in Western Balkans, unlocking €750mn for small businesses

By bne IntelliNews April 15, 2024

The European Investment Fund (EIF), part of the EIB Group, said on April 15 that it has signed guarantee agreements with 11 banks and financial intermediaries in the Western Balkans.

These agreements will enable local banks and financial institutions to build a portfolio of SME loans for an aggregate amount well above €750mn, along with additional ones expected to be signed in the first half of 2024.

The funding will facilitated concessional loans to some 13 000 small businesses, sustaining around 180 000 jobs.

According to Serbian news agency Tanjug, €250mn will be allocated for Serbia.

EIF said that the agreements will be funded under the European Union’s Western Balkans Enterprise Development and Innovation Facility (WB EDIF).

These financial resources are intended to increase access to finance among small businesses and improve their resilience to persistent economic challenges, while creating conditions for business expansion, employment and innovation.

The start of the implementation of the WB EDIF Guarantee for SME Resilience paves the way for the signature of the remaining 20 guarantees as part of the Western Balkans Guarantee Facility.

"By doing so, these substantial funds will provide additional impetus for the development of robust and competitive regional economies as well as their advancement within the global value chains," EIF chief executive Marjut Falkstedt said.

 

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