The European Investment Fund (EIF) said it has signed a 25 million euro ($28.1 million) agreement with Alpha Bank Albania for supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) in the country.
The agreement is part of the EU’s COSME loan guarantee facility programme that supports SMEs’ access to financing, EIF said in a press release on Tuesday.
“This is the first COSME programme agreement to be signed in Albania,” EIF noted
Under this agreement, Alpha Bank Albania will grant loans to local SMEs with limited available collateral starting from October 1, with the backing of COSME guarantees. Around 200 businesses are expected to benefit from new financing, with reduced collateral requirements, at more favourable conditions.
“Albania is now the 32nd country where small and medium companies can have access to debt finance guaranteed by the EU and I am very happy to see that more than 200 Albanian companies will now benefit from a better access to finance thanks to the EU,” the EU commissioner for the internal market, industry, entrepreneurship and SMEs, Elzbieta Bienkowska, said.
“Supporting small businesses and creating jobs lies at the heart of EIF’s strategy and we are confident that this new transaction will contribute to driving growth in Albania,” EIF chief executive, Pier Luigi Gilibert, said.
The deal will help accelerate the development of SMEs in terms of formalisation, competitiveness and economic growth, chief executive officer of Alpha Bank Albania, Georgios Papanastasiou, said.
COSME is the EU programme for the competitiveness of enterprises and SMEs running from 2014 to 2020 with a total budget of 2.3 billion euro.