ArmInfo.The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the European Union have provided Ardshinbank with a $20 million credit for the development of Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) in Armenia. The financial package aims to support growth, competitiveness, and green economy initiatives in Armenia. The agreement was signed on November 24 in Yerevan.
The funding package includes two credits from the EBRD. Half of this amount will be on-lent to Armenian firms to foster their growth and development, and the other US$10 million will support investments in environmentally friendly equipment and production upgrades that meet EU standards. The financing will enable borrowers to improve their competitiveness both domestically and internationally and diversify their export markets. It will also support the implementation of health and safety measures, as well as the adoption of environmentally friendly practices and resource efficiency. At least 70 percent of the loan will be allocated to funding green technologies.
In addition, borrowers will benefit from free support from international consultants and will receive cash-back incentives upon completion of their investment projects. Both are funded by the EU under its EU4Business initiative and contribute to the aims of the EU’s Eastern Partnership (EaP) Economic and Investment Plan, which include supporting 30,000 SMEs in Armenia.
In his speech at the signing ceremony, Francis Malige, EBRD Managing Director for Financial Institutions, said:
“I am delighted to announce that with today’s signing, Ardshinbank has joined our flagship programme designed to make local firms greener and more competitive, at home and abroad. This cooperation with our financial partner, along with the support of our longstanding donor, the European Union, allows us to step up support for Armenian firms. We look forward to seeing more Armenian products and Armenian brands going global.”
Lawrence Meredith, Director for Neighbourhood East and Institution building at the European Commission, noted that the European Union is proud to support this new concessional credit line the EBRD and Ardshinbank are concluding today.
“This is yet another demonstration that our Economic and Investment Plan for Armenia is delivering on the ground”
Ardshinbank’s Chairman of the Management Board, Artak Ananyan thanked the EBRD and the European Union for the fruitful cooperation and trust in Ardshinbank, in particular, noted:
“It is a great honor for us to continue our cooperation with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, a long-standing partner of Ardshinbank. The MSME sector is extremely important for the development of Armenia's economy, export promotion, and job creation. Ardshinbank, with the widest regional network in the country, will continue to contribute to the country's development through loan funds, promoting affordable lending in the small and medium-sized business sector.”
The head of Ardshinbank especially noted the role of the European Union in promoting “green” lending in Armenia and maintaining its environmental safety. These funds, according to A. Ananyan, are of strategic importance for Ardshinbank and will help increase the volume of green lending throughout the republic.
Let us recall that since the beginning of its activities in 1992, the EBRD has financed 207 projects worth more than €2 billion in Armenia. The EBRD-EU financing is part of a joint programme, the EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line, for which the EBRD provides finance to MSMEs through partner financial institutions, while the EU complements the offer with incentive grants and technical assistance. This programme is also available in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.