EU, 289 million euros for SMEs in Albania with low lending interest rates. How many businesses benefit?

2024-04-25 12:17:30Biznes SHKRUAR NGA REDAKSIA VOX

The European Union will distribute a package of 750 million euros for the support of small and medium businesses in the Western Balkans, 289 million of which will be for Albania. The European Investment Fund, as part of the European Investment Bank Group, has signed guarantee agreements with 11 banks and financial intermediaries in the Western Balkans.

The agreements will enable local banks and financial institutions to build a loan portfolio for small and medium-sized enterprises in a total amount of more than 750 million euros, with an additional amount expected to be signed in the next two months. The financing will facilitate concessional loans for about 13,000 small businesses, supporting the creation of about 180,000 jobs.

These financial resources aim to increase access to income among small businesses and improve their resilience to ongoing economic challenges, while creating conditions for business expansion, employment and innovation.

"Thanks to this guarantee, domestic enterprises will benefit from loans with favorable conditions, such as lower interest rates, reduced requirements for collateral and longer maturities, in moments when the need for credit is high", said the Commissioner for Neighborhood and Expansion, Olivér Várhelyi.

As for other countries in the region, Kosovo is expected to benefit from about 37 million euros in loans with favorable conditions for 690 small businesses, supporting about 9,500 jobs. Bosnia and Herzegovina 102 million euros, Serbia 250 million, North Macedonia 60 million and Montenegro only 12 million euros.

Small and medium-sized enterprises make up 99% of all enterprises in the Western Balkans and employ between 50% and 80% of the active population. However, despite the great potential, SMEs continue to face many obstacles, limiting their ability to become more competitive, especially internationally.