The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a multilateral institution headquartered in London, England, recently announced that it will provide a loan of EUR 5 million (USD 5.9 million) to the Albanian microfinance institution (MFI) Fondi Besa to support agricultural businesses. The loan is the second half of a funding series from EBRD’s “Albania Agribusiness Support Facility,” which aims to improve access to finance for agribusinesses. The facility is backed by the Albanian government as well as five Albanian financial institutions. About half of the jobs in the country are agriculture-related.
Fondi Besa has 78 branches, 30,000 active clients and ALL 8.9 billion (USD 81 million) in total assets as of 2016. Fondi Besa defines its mission as “to contribute to the country[’s] economic growth in the urban and semi urban areas, by promoting and financing the small and medium enterprises sector in Albania” .
EBRD, 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 2017. 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 MFIs. During 2016, EBRD invested EUR 9.4 billion (USD 10.5 billion) in 378 projects in 35 countries, and as of December of that year it reported total assets of EUR 24 billion (USD 28.7 billion) [3,4].
By Alex Gelfond, Research Associate
Sources and Additional Information
 Fondi Besa: http://www.fondibesa.com/
 ERBD: http://www.ebrd.com/
 MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: EBRD, European Union Launch Agribusiness Program in Tajikistan with $2m in Local-currency for MFI Arvand: https://www.microcapital.org/microcapital-brief-ebrd-european-union-launch-agribusiness-program-tajikistan-2m-local-currency-mfi-arvand/
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