EBRD boosts lending to Tunisian small businesses

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is responding to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the Tunisian economy with a €5 million loan to Compagnie Internationale de Leasing (CIL) for on-lending to local private businesses.

The EBRD loan will help CIL to increase much-needed funding for local micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) that are experiencing a decrease in activity, turnover and profitability.

The loan is the first in Tunisia under the EBRD’s Solidarity Package, put together to meet the short-term financing needs of existing clients. Strengthening the resilience of the financial sector is key in combating the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis.

MSMEs are at the core of the Tunisian economy, accounting for 95 per cent of active enterprises in the country. However, they remain largely underserved by the financial sector, which is channelling only 15 per cent of its total lending to small businesses. The coronavirus pandemic has further exacerbated these challenging market circumstances.

Leases under the loan will be available to various sectors of the Tunisian economy, including transport, health and agriculture.

The EBRD expects to dedicate the entirety of its activities in 2020-21 to combating the economic impact of the crisis and stands ready to provide support worth €21 billion over this period.

CIL is among the five largest leasing companies in the country and is listed on the Tunisian stock exchange.

Since the start of its operations in Tunisia in 2012, the EBRD has invested €945 million across 46 projects there and provided technical assistance to nearly 1,000 SMEs, two-thirds of which are located in various regions of the country.

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