The European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Macedonian Bank for Development Promotion (MBDP) signed in Skopje a EUR 100m loan aimed at financing projects in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM).

The operation is intended to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and industrial investment of any size in the fields of the knowledge economy, energy, environmental protection and services. A minimum of 70% of the loan amount will be allocated to SME projects. MBDP will allocate the funds through selected local commercial banks. MBDP is a financial institution fully owned by the Government, whose mission is to support national economic strategies and objectives.

The EIB financing could cover up to 100% of the total cost of the investment, with a maximum of EUR 12.5 million per project, in line with the EIB’s standard criteria.

The EIB’s financing operations in the country serve to facilitate the processes of integration with the European Union and are aimed at helping the SME sector, which is suffering from a lack of funding, particularly as regards long-term borrowings. In providing financial support for SMEs, the loan will reduce unemployment levels and improve the quality of life of the country’s citizens. MBDP will undertake to pass on the advantage of the EIB resources to final beneficiaries via intermediary banks through lower interest rates and longer maturities.

The EIB has been active in FYROM since 2001. Over the past eleven years, four global loans have been signed in the country for a total amount of EUR 190m and have been fully disbursed. This is the Bank’s third operation with MBDP.