The EBRD and EU announced on March 22 that they were extending their support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine to a total of almost 1.1 billion euros in credit lines and trade finance, and 58.3 million euros in EU grants.
Speaking at a conference in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, Deputy Director-General for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations of the European Commission Katarína Mathernová said: “We are pleased to announce the extension of our successful programme of access to finance supporting reforms important for the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area to function. The EU4Business-EBRD Credit line has allowed SMEs in sectors such as manufacturing, retail, agriculture and food processing, transport, services and health care to improve their products, strengthen their export potential and adopt EU standards and technical norms. The combination of EBRD finance and EU grants has proven to be a perfect match to the needs of Georgian companies.”
Through the EU4Business-EBRD Credit line – a joint EBRD-EU programme supported by the EU4Business initiative and active since September 2016 – over 100 Georgian companies have received 60 million euros in financing so far. Concrete projects under the EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line range from investments in machinery to complex programmes where companies had the opportunity to draw on free technical assistance provided by an international team of experts. Half of the projects financed in Georgia are with companies located in regions outside the capital, Tbilisi.
“We are delighted to see the first real results of our financing supporting Georgian companies. From hazelnut processing to road construction, from promoting local produce to succeeding in foreign markets – companies financed by the programme have decided to invest in the European standards, and we are happy to be part of their success,” said Bruno Balvanera, EBRD director for the Caucasus, Moldova and Belarus.
The EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line is also available in Moldova and will soon be launched in Ukraine. It will assist local SMEs in reaping the benefits associated with their countries’ free trade agreements with the EU, the world’s largest trading block.