By Axel Reiserer
Local farmers and agribusiness companies to benefit from fresh funds
Société Générale Albania and EBRD are joining forces to increase local farmers’ and agribusiness companies’ access to finance, especially in remote regions of the country.
The EBRD, together with the government one of the sponsors of the facility, is providing unfunded risk participation of €30 million. This will free up to €60 million in loans to be provided by Société Générale Albania to local agribusiness clients.
In addition, technical cooperation funds will support Société Générale Albania with developing and marketing new financial products that meet the needs of the local agribusiness sector. Agribusiness is a vital sector of Albania’s economy. It provides employment for more than 50 per cent of the population in rural areas and accounts for around 20 per cent of the country’s GDP. However, the sector remains underserviced by financial institutions, with loans to agribusiness accounting for only 2 per cent of total lending to the economy.
The Albania Agribusiness Support Facility, launched by the EBRD and the government of Albania earlier in 2016, is addressing this challenge by improving access to finance for local agribusinesses through dedicated credit lines or by sharing the risk of lending to the agribusiness sector. The government has committed to make available up to €36 million to support the facility and the EBRD is providing up to €100 million in funding and risk-sharing facilities.
Société Générale Albania is a subsidiary of Société Générale Group, one of the largest European banks ranked 10th by total assets as of year-end 2015. The group is also a major player in many countries where the EBRD invests and has local presence in Albania since 2007.
EBRD Head of RO in Tirana, Mr Matteo Colangeli said: “We welcome the signing of the Risk Participation Agreement with Société Générale Albania as it represents a significant step in the development of our facility and for Albania’s agribusiness sector. The growing interest in the facility’s products is a huge encouragement to continue our efforts. With Société Générale Albania we welcome another partner with the potential to boost our impact.”
The Chief Executive Officer of Societe Generale Albania, Mr.Frederic Blanc added: Joining this program has proven again the solid cooperation that SG and EBRD share worldwide. This program and sector supported by Albanian government is fully in line with our main vision of sustainable and profitable growth with low risk, which by acting in this program we will transfer as part of the culture to our clients and future borrowers.
Being present for 10 years with 40 offices in the country and approximately 400 employees, with this program we believe will bring value added in many families neighbourhoods companies and country itself.
The positive impact will be polyvalent for other sectors of the economy as well as export import balancing using local advantages of Albanian environment.
Joined expertise and close cooperation between Societe Generale Albania and EBRD will be the key of success in this program implementation.
In addition to financing instrument, the framework also includes technical assistance to help financial institutions enhance their lending, as well as advisory services through the EBRD’s Advice for Small Businesses that will help agribusiness SMEs to develop their performance in a wide range of areas and improve their bankability. The EBRD is also continuing to support the Albanian institutions with specific activities in favor of sectoral reform in coordination with other development partners.
Since the start of its operations in Albania, the EBRD has invested more than €1 billion in about 75 projects in the country. The Bank is active in all sectors of the economy with a special emphasis on infrastructure and energy, where demand and potential are high. The EBRD’s strategic priorities for 2016-18 in the countries where it invests are re-energising growth, strengthening regional integration and addressing global challenges.