The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is providing a substantial financial package to Union Internationale de Banques (UIB) in Tunisia, a subsidiary of Société Générale, to contribute to strengthening the competiveness of local enterprises in Tunisia and their integration in wider markets.
The package consists of a €40 million loan for on-lending to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and a US$10 million trade finance line. SMEs account for 90 per cent of all firms in Tunisia, and provide 56 per cent of the country’s private-sector jobs. However, their access to finance is limited and significant potential remains unrealised.
The EBRD’s loan will help UIB to double its lending capacity to small firms over the next three years. The credit line will also support UIB in expanding its business outside the capital Tunis, which will help to address regional disparities.
The European Union is providing grant support as part of an overall €27.6 million in funding channelled through the EBRD to boost financial inclusion in the southern and eastern Mediterranean region.
Since September 2012, when EBRD operations began in Tunisia, the Bank has invested €350 million through 25 projects in the country. Supporting the regional development of the country outside Tunis is a special priority for the Bank and the EBRD therefore opened a second office in October last year, in Sfax.