By Bojana Vlajcic
09 Aug 2022
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Albania are set to benefit from new financing provided by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), co-financed by incentive grants from the European Union (EU).
The bank is extending a €3 million loan to ProCredit Bank in Albania and the EU is providing €450,000 in incentive grants to support local enterprise investment aimed at boosting competitiveness. More than half of the total loan amount will finance investments in green technology and energy efficiency.
The loan will improve the availability of funding for SMEs and support them in the current economic environment as they face rising costs. SMEs will be able to apply for funds to invest in an upgrade or extension of their production facilities, new equipment and operations. Enterprises will also have the opportunity to invest in achieving EU standards in the fields of environmental protection, worker safety and product quality and safety, helping them become more competitive.
Participating SMEs are eligible for a grant incentive equivalent to 15 per cent of the loan amount.
The transaction is part of the SME Competitiveness Support Programme in the Western Balkans, which is co-financed by the EU. The initiative focuses on improving the operating and product standards of small companies so that they can compete locally and in the EU market.
The Head of the EU Delegation to Albania, Ambassador Christiane Hohmann sees the initiative as a great opportunity for local SMEs to grow and make their distinctive mark in a regional market. “Let’s ensure that these funds reach those companies that demonstrate core European values in respecting their workers’ safety, quality standards and environmental protection. Considering the current global economic situation, we strongly believe that a 15 per cent incentive can make a difference,” declared Ambassador Hohmann.
Ekaterina Solovova, EBRD Head of Albania, said: “Supporting SMEs through our cooperation with local banks is one of EBRD’s priorities in Albania. We are pleased to build on the already successful partnership between the EBRD and ProCredit and thereby strengthen the competitiveness of local SMEs, boost their access to finance and promote their investment in green technologies and energy efficiency.”
“Sustainability is an important element of our business strategy. We are committed to supporting and incentivising our SME clients who are willing to engage in green investment. In this way we contribute to our overall objective of promoting sustainable economic development and have a positive environmental and social impact,” explained the management of ProCredit Bank Albania
To date, the EBRD has committed almost €1.9 billion to projects in Albania.