EBRD and UBCI support small firms in Tunisia

Image: EBRD

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is supporting small firms in Tunisia by providing a €40 million loan to UBCI, for on-lending to micro, small and medium sized-enterprises (MSMEs).

The EBRD’s credit line to UBCI will facilitate access to long-term funding for MSMEs. Such funding remains limited even though these firms are crucial for the sustainable development of the country’s real economy.

Marie-Alexandra Veilleux, Head of EBRD office in Tunisia, said: “MSMEs are the key driver of Tunisia’s economic transition and the main vehicle of job creation. Supporting their expansion is one of our core priorities in the country. Through this new financing, we foster the development of the private sector and make it more sustainable.”

Sylvia Gansser-Potts, EBRD Director, Financial Institutions, Southern and Eastern Mediterranean and Turkey, said: “We are delighted to initiate a relationship with UBCI, which will enable the EBRD to reach more MSMEs across Tunisia. The signing of this loan in December 2014 was a further step towards supporting the country’s financial sector; it is the fifth loan we have signed with a Tunisian financial institution in 2014, bringing the combined total to €110 million.”

Patrick Poupon, UBCI Managing Director, explained: “UBCI’s loan portfolio grew by over 13 per cent in the first three quarters of 2014, the highest increase seen among listed Tunisian banks. This performance illustrates the commitment of UBCI-Groupe BNP Paribas to the sustainable financing of the real economy, as well as our confidence in the wider economic outlook for Tunisia. We are therefore particularly happy to begin working with the EBRD by signing this credit line. The new facility will undoubtedly enlarge and diversify our financing capacity for MSMEs and thereby contribute to strengthening the domestic economy.”

Stéphen de Petiville, Head of ALM Treasury and Funding at BNP Paribas International Retail Banking, commented: “We already work with the EBRD in Poland, Turkey, Ukraine and Kosovo. We are happy to extend this cooperation to one of the North African countries in which we work, particularly Tunisia, a country with strong potential for economic development. It’s a further step towards helping UBCI develop the local SME sector.”

Since September 2012, when it began operations in Tunisia, the EBRD has committed over €210 million to financing 20 projects across various sectors. The Bank has also facilitated direct technical assistance through its Small Business Support programme, which has benefited approximately 130 Tunisian SMEs to date.”

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