Raiffeisen Bank will lend the funds to businesses looking to upgrade their technology, processes or services with a view to achieving European Union (EU)standards, particularly those related to product quality, workers’ health and safety, and EU environmental requirements.
SMEs can also obtain technical assistance, including hands-on EBRD advisory support. Once they have successfully completed their investment, they will also be eligible for a cashback grant of 15 per cent of the total loan amount, funded by the EU.
This new facility is part of the Western Balkans SME Competitiveness Support Programme, to which the EBRD provides loans and the EU contributes incentive payments and technical assistance. The goal is to help SMEs modernise their activities and take advantage of trade opportunities in the Western Balkans region and wider European market.
Neil Taylor, EBRD Head of Kosovo, said: “SMEs here have been badly affected by the year-long crisis. We are united with our partners, the EU and Raiffeisen Bank, to help them recover, strengthen their ability to export to the EU, and speed up the transition to a greener, more sustainable economy”.
“I am very glad that today we are marking the inclusion of our third partner bank to implement the SME Competitiveness Support Programme in Kosovo. Our joint efforts will enable Kosovar enterprises easier access to financing and allow SMEs to reach EU standards and expand regionally and internationally. The EU is and will continue to be the biggest donor, investor and trade partner in Kosovo,” underlined Tomáš Szunyog, Head of EU Office in Kosovo/EU Special Representative.
“We are very pleased to be in partnership with EBRD for the provision of € 5 million of funds for our SME businesses in Kosovo. Our customers have been through a very difficult time due to the pandemic and this agreement is part of our commitment to facilitate a quick and sustainable recovery,” said Robert Wright, the CEO of Raiffeisen Bank Kosovo.
To date, the EBRD has invested €522 million in Kosovo through 75 projects since it began operations there in 2012. Supporting the competitive development of the private sector is the primary objective of the Bankin the country.