As announced in Tunis, during the 10th FEMIP Conference dedicated to SMEs in the Mediterranean partner countries, the Government of Luxembourg Directorate for Development and Cooperation and EIB launch today a EUR 4 million programme for supporting the development of the microfinance sector in Tunisia. The programme will be implemented by Appui au Développement Autonome (ADA) and will be rolled over the next five years. This initiative received the support of the FEMIP Trust Fund, established in 2004, whose main objective is to support private sector development in the Mediterranean partner countries.
With microfinance commitments in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean region of over EUR 27 million in the last ten years, EIB supported local microfinance institutions that have together over 800,000 active micro-borrowers. In addition, the EIB provided financing to 2,300 micro, small and medium enterprises, which created 30,000 jobs and granted more than EUR 102 million for technical assistance operations to build knowledge and capacity in order to advance the integration of the region.
The MicroMED Tunisia programme was established in response to a call for assistance from the Tunisian Administration in its endeavour to develop the microfinance sector after the Arab Spring. The programme will aim at improving the regulatory environment and the ability of microfinance institutions to grow responsively. It will provide capacity building to microfinance institutions, increase transparency of the sector and facilitate the emergence of relevant inclusive financial products, especially for young entrepreneurs. This will prepare the ground for future equity and debt operations in Tunisia.
Over the past two decades, Luxembourg development cooperation has contributed to a number of programs in Tunisia, mainly in the fields of education and professional training, with the objective to support the development of this country through the achievement of social progress. Economic growth is another, equally important, pillar of this endeavour and it is as such paramount to Tunisia’s development. Microfinance and inclusive finance can add significant leverage to the efforts made in order to achieve this growth. Luxembourg development cooperation has almost twenty years of experience in microfinance to offer, so I am very glad that we have been able to make the easy and logical choice and to support the MicroMED Tunisia pilot program” said Mrs Marie-Josée Jacobs, Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Action of the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg.
Robert Wagener, Chairman of ADA, said “This substantial support from EIB and the Government of Luxembourg shows a common interest to strengthen the Tunisian microfinance sector towards autonomy. MicroMED is a new step for ADA and we are happy to share our expertise in terms of funding, capacity building and innovation with inclusive finance players in Tunisia.”
The MicroMED Tunisia programme is an excellent example of how partners can come together in support of a higher objective, which is the promotion of financial inclusion through our projects. In concert with the Government of Luxembourg and ADA, we can achieve a greater outcome by better assisting the development of the Tunisian microfinance sector. We hope that in the near future we can replicate this promising initiative to the other countries in the region” said Mr de Fontaine Vive Curtaz, EIB Vice-President.