The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the EU are stepping up their support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the Eastern Partnership member countries, including Azerbaijan, with new financing, Trend reports Dec. 20 with reference to the EBRD press service.
The bank will provide over 250 million euros in credit lines to local financial institutions to make businesses across the regions where the EBRD operates more competitive.
The loans will help SMEs benefit from the opportunities brought about by the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas (DCFTA) as well as other EU Partnerships Agreements.
Meanwhile, the EU is providing 67.6 million euros in grants to support these investments through technical assistance, which will raise awareness of green technologies with high market potential and encourage sub-borrowers to adopt them by providing investment incentives.
The EU is also supporting local currency financing.
The new funds are expected to be available in all six countries of the Eastern Partnership.
The EU4Business-EBRD credit line is already available in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, countries which have already signed the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement with the EU.
Close trading links with the EU, the world’s largest market, come with many benefits to businesses and people.
They ensure high standards of products and services for consumers. At the same time, they help build competitive and export-oriented businesses, which, in turn, boosts economic growth.
Since 2016, the EU4Business-EBRD credit line has supported more than 250 enterprises, ranging from furniture producers and agribusinesses to tourism operators and businesses active in most sectors of the economy.
“This is a flagship project for the EBRD and our key partner, the EU, in the region,” said Pierre Heilbronn, EBRD vice president for policy and partnerships. “We work together to improve people’s lives and build sustainable and integrated economies. It underlines the success and positive impact of our joint work that we are now in a position to extend our credit line to more countries.”
“The EU is proud to extend its support to SMEs across the Eastern Partnership making the region closer to the EU through trade opportunities, providing access to finance in local currency and progressing on the green agenda together with partner countries,” said Christian Danielsson, director-general for neighborhood and enlargement negotiations at the European Commission.
The EBRD is a leading institutional investor in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Armenia, Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine. To date, the bank has invested close to 27 billion euros in the six countries in over 1,200 projects.
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