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TIRANA (Albania), January 30 (SeeNews) – The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said on Wednesday it is providing a 5 million euro ($5.7 million) loan to Intesa Sanpaolo Bank Albania for on-lending in support of women-led small businesses in the country.
“This loan will help to narrow the gender gap in access to finance and know-how that can hold women back from fuller participation in the economy,” the EBRD said in a press release.
The five-year loan under the EBRD’s Western Balkans Women in Business Programme II follows a 2 million euro facility from 2015, now fully utilized, the bank added.
The programme, supported by Italy, Luxembourg and Sweden, aims to train bankers on new financial products available to female entrepreneurs as well as to help identify good financing opportunities.
“The loan will contribute to greater economic inclusion by supporting women-led micro small and medium-sized businesses’ (MSMEs) access to finance and business advisory services, while also demonstrating the business case for scaling up lending to women-led firms,” the statement said.
To date, the programme has provided over 30 million euro to partner financial institutions for on-lending to women-led SMEs throughout the region.
Intesa Sanpaolo Bank is a fully-owned subsidiary of Italy's Intesa Sanpaolo Spa. It is the fourth largest bank in Albania and has good regional outreach with 34 branches countrywide.
($ = 0.87476 euro)