The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a multilateral institution headquartered in the United Kingdom, recently announced that it will loan USD 5 million for rural micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and individual farmers in Albania. The loan will be provided under EBRD’s “Albania Agribusiness Support Facility,” a credit line that is jointly funded by EBRD and the Albanian government with the aim of improving financial access for rural enterprises in the country. The funds will be on-lent to the beneficiaries by FondiBESA, a non-bank financial institution in Albania.
Holger Muent, EBRD’s director responsible for the Western Balkans, said that the loan “will help to significantly increase the outreach of the framework in areas where financial support is needed most”. Bajram Mucaj, the executive director of FondiBESA, added that “the Albania Agribusiness Support Facility […] introduces a new product specific to agriculture. This new agreement will enable FondiBESA to be more active in rural areas by increasing access to financial services for clients in the agricultural sector”.
During 2015, EBRD invested EUR 9.38 billion (USD 10.5 billion) in 381 projects in 36 countries, and as of December of that year it reported total members’ equity of EUR 14.6 billion (USD 16.3 billion). Between 1991 and 2016 EBRD has funded 75 projects and invested approximately USD 1 billion in Albania. As of 2016, FondiBESA had approximately 30,000 clients, a loan portfolio of ALL 6.65 billion (USD 51.5 million) and 72 offices in Albania.
By Alíz Crowley, Research Associate
About the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is a multilateral institution headquartered in London, United Kingdom. The bank, which began operations in 1991 upon the agreement of 40 countries, is owned by 65 countries as well as the European Investment Bank and the European Union as of 2016. It aims to finance operations that are both commercially viable and assist development in Central and Western Asia, Eastern Europe and North Africa. It does this by providing loans, debt securities, equity investments, guarantees and technical assistance to micro- and small businesses via commercial banks and non-bank microfinance institutions (MFIs). During 2015, EBRD invested EUR 9.38 billion (USD 10.5 billion) in 381 projects in 36 countries, and as of December of that year it reported total members’ equity of EUR 14.6 billion (USD 16.3 billion).
FondiBESA is an Albanian microfinance institution providing loans and grants to local entrepreneurs. The organization was launched as the “Urban Microcredit Department,” a project of the government-backed Albanian Development Fund in 1994. In 1999, the country’s Council of Ministers spun off the project into an organization called FondiBESA, with the US-based Soros Foundation as its founder. Today, FondiBESA is a non-bank financial institution offering access to microloans and grants for micro- and small-scale entrepreneurs. As of 2016, FondiBESA had approximately 30,000 clients, a loan portfolio of ALL 6.65 billion (USD 51.5 million) and 72 offices in Albania.
Sources and Additional Information:
 FondiBESA.com: Our Institution
 MicroCapital Universe Profile: European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)
 MicroCapital Universe Profile: FondiBESA
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