Aware of the key role played by the private sector in reviving sustainable growth, the Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB) Philippe de Fontaine Vive signed four finance agreements totalling €121 million with Fransabank, Byblos Bank, First National Bank and the Euromena III Fund.

A €90 million loan will help to support local firms and create jobs through credit lines channelled through the networks of Byblos Bank (3rd EIB loan) and Fransabank. These funds will be made available to firms in the areas of industry, high-tech and services, including tourism, health and education. The EIB has also provided a €11 million loan to First National Bank to support the development of the private sector in Lebanon by helping to finance small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), so boosting job creation. Lastly, buoyed by its success with previous equity participations, the EIB decided to invest €20 million in the Euromena III regional private equity fund, which targets companies with growth potential that are destined to become regional champions. The EIB’s commitments to First National Bank and the Euromena III regional private equity fund are financed by the European Union and the kingdom of Spain (Spanish Agency for International Cooperation - AECID).

These are key financing operations for company heads wishing to expand their business and compete nationally, regionally and globally. They are vital for creating jobs and giving young graduates prospects for the future. A long-standing key partner of Lebanon, the EIB is deploying its resources and skills to support the country in its drive for sustainable growth and thereby boost its regional influence, as well as in addressing the many challenges it is facing as a result of the impact of the Syrian conflict. Since 1978 it has made nearly €1.4 billion available for developing the private sector – SMEs, microfinance institutions and private equity funds – but also for implementing projects improving people’s lives in the energy, water, environment and transport sectors in operations that have drawn on the Bank’s technical and financial expertise and utilised financial instruments with attractive terms especially tailored to the local market.

“On the strength of our quality partnership, we are mobilising our resources more than ever in Lebanon” said EIB Vice-President Philippe de Fontaine Vive on his visit to Beirut, where he met the Prime Minister and a number of political, business and finance leaders. “Our spearhead is support for the private sector – a vital force in Lebanon. And only investment will enable the private sector to develop, innovate and compete regionally and globally.  Our joint priority is growth and job creation, especially for young people. This is how we will ensure they have a future".

EIB – leading development financier in the Mediterranean

Looking ahead to 2020, the EIB will continue to fulfil its remit in the Mediterranean region as the leading long-term development financier. On the strength of its new strategy for 2014-2020, adopted by the Ministers of the European Union and the Mediterranean partner countries* in Athens on 1 April 2014, the EIB will step up its support for job creation, innovation and the environment with the aim of offering young people a more prosperous future. Developing the private sector and creating an investment-friendly environment are at the heart of this mobilisation of resources involving the granting of new credit lines for SMEs, support for microenterprises and the creation of private equity funds. Financing infrastructure will also be one of the priorities of this mandate, allied with the development of innovative financial instruments designed to respond effectively to changes in the Mediterranean countries’ needs and priorities. In this way €9.6 billion will be devoted to promoting economic development and social cohesion in the Mediterranean partner countries, including Lebanon, between 2014 and 2020.

* Mediterranean partner countries: Algeria, West Bank and Gaza Strip, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia.