December 3 (SeeNews) - The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development said it is providing a 5 million euro ($5.7 million) loan to Kosovo's Banka per Biznes (BPB) for on-lending to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The loan will help SMEs move towards EU standards and boost their competitiveness, the EBRD said in a press release last week.
SMEs will also receive grants funded from the EU pre-accession assistance (IPA), managed by the EU office in Kosovo under the EBRD-run Kosovo SME competitiveness support programme.
“A combination of long-term finance, technical cooperation and investment incentives form a package designed to help unlock the full potential of the country’s SMEs,” the EBRD noted.
BPB, the seventh biggest of the total 10 banks operating in Kosovo and the programme’s first partner in the country, was established in 2001 and has its focus on SME and retail. The EBRD has held a 10% stake in BPB since 2011, with the majority stake owned by Kosovo businessmen and 4.6% by Banka di Cividale.
“The EBRD launched a follow-up on our first competitiveness facility, the EU-EBRD Private Sector Support Facility, in nearby Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2015,” the EBRD said, adding that in 2017, funding was approved for a 15 million euro regional programme through the Western Balkans Enterprise Development and Innovation Facility (WB EDIF) as well as additional support through national EU IPA funds in Macedonia and Kosovo.
“This funding allows the programme to be rolled out in all six countries of the Western Balkans under the WB EDIF umbrella, optimising impact through scale, regional coordination and cross-country synergies. Its holistic approach enables SMEs to access blended instruments tailored to their needs and the stage of their growth.”
($ = 0.88300 euro)