[Tunisia] European Investment Bank, Banque de l'Habitat sign $140 million credit facility to boost business financing
The European Investment Bank and Banque de l'Habitat have signed a new line of credit meant to strengthen access to bank financing for Tunisian companies, thus supporting more than 250 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and more than 1,600 jobs in Tunisia.
The €120 million financing contract was signed by Mr. Ahmed Rjiba, General Manager of the Housing Bank (BH) and Ms. Flavia Palanza, Director of Loan Operations in Tunisia.
The neighboring countries to the EIB, in the presence of HE Mr. Ridha Chalgoum, Minister of Finance, of HE Mr. Zied Ladhari, Minister of Development, Investment and International Cooperation, who also signed the Guarantee Agreement on behalf of the Government Tunisia for the State guarantee provided for this loan.
Granted on advantageous conditions in terms of maturity and rate, this financing will be able to significantly improve the loan conditions of project leaders while helping to consolidate the banking sector by diversifying funding sources and reducing costs.
It is aimed primarily at SMEs but also at small and very small businesses that offer value and job creation. Civil society is also called upon to play an important role in this financing agreement for greater effectiveness of action both in terms of raising awareness and supporting the companies financed.
This new line of credit will focus on the financing of projects in various industrial and service sectors including Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), public and private health, pharmaceutical industry, education, cultural activities, agribusiness, not to mention the energy transition sector with renewable energies and energy efficiency. Particular attention will be paid to export and access to new external markets.
"This is emblematic financing that reflects our commitment to Tunisian public banks to accelerate access to corporate finance," said Flavia Palanza, Director of Lending Operations in Neighborhood Countries at the EIB."I am even more pleased to sign this new financing with the Habitat Bank with which we have been linked for many years by a partnership of trust and high quality. By giving small project owners and businesses the means to develop, we support local employment and economic development in Tunisia, two of the EIB's main priorities for action. With this new line of credit, it is a strong signal that we want to give to civil society to medium, small and very small businesses. We offer new job opportunities to Tunisian youth. "
"The Housing Bank is particularly proud and pleased with the signing of this credit line, which testifies to the EIB's confidence in Tunisia and our bank," said Ahmed Rjiba, General Manager of BH."It is also a recognition by a prestigious and rigorous European financial institution of the performance of BH, particularly for the progress made in the implementation of its restructuring program. The close collaboration with the EIB, which goes back more than 22 years, is thus revived. It allows us to increase our support for the national economy, SMEs and job creation. This loan also contributes to the consolidation of our stable resources. It is a valuable contribution to the realization of our 2017-2021 business plan. This loan is certainly the starting point for developing other avenues of collaboration. “Mr. Rjiba also underlined the significance of the guarantee of this loan by the State, once again confirming the success of the bank as a true model of public-private partnership.
This EIB financing is part of the dynamics of the European Neighborhood Policy, whose support for the development and competitiveness of businesses is a strong axis of action. It also responds to the priorities of the Economic Resilience Initiative set up by the EIB to support job creation and financial inclusion of small and medium-sized enterprises in countries affected by the refugee crisis.
As the first international development financier in Tunisia, the EIB committed at the international conference "Tunisia 2020" in November 2016 to support up to 2.5 billion euros by 2020 the mutation of Tunisia.
Support for the private sector and entrepreneurship is at the heart of this exceptional mobilization with the aim of supporting inclusive and sustainable growth, a source of jobs for the younger generations.