Support for Tunisian business leaders and micro-entrepreneurs was one of the key aspects of the visit to Tunisia of Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), and Philippe de Fontaine Vive, EIB Vice-President. Two new finance contracts totalling EUR 21m (TND 48m) were signed with the microfinance institution Taysir and Banque Tuniso-Koweitienne (BTK) in the framework of a partnership agreement with Réseau Entreprendre.
These are new types of partnerships with high social value added, aimed at helping small project sponsors that are finding it difficult to obtain credit by providing them with finance tailored to their situation, thereby enabling them to integrate into society sustainably. These financing operations will also encourage the creation of local start-ups in the most disadvantaged areas of Tunisia.
"This new finance for micro-enterprises is vital for Tunisia as it will have a crucial effect in terms of support for business and jobs", remarked EIB President Werner Hoyer. "Support for the private sector is a priority for the EIB in Europe and the Mediterranean region. In this way, we are creating the conditions for shared prosperity."
"Supporting Tunisia's economic transition is first and foremost a responsible, innovative investment centred on the economic and social priorities of this country. I am also delighted that civil society is associated with us in supporting small and micro-enterprises. The younger generations' future depends on this", said EIB Vice-President Philippe de Fontaine Vive.
In view of the current liquidity crisis, this EIB support for the private sector via innovative partnerships will contribute to the consolidation of Tunisia's banking sector thanks to the diversification of sources of finance and the long maturities of the lines of credit offered by the EIB, which are increasingly rare on the market.
First partnership with the innovative microfinance institution Taysir
With this loan of EUR 1m (TND 2.34m) signed on 3 December 2014, the EIB has chosen to support the business activity of the microfinance institution Taysir, which is specialised in developing micro-enterprises in disadvantaged areas of Tunisia. This loan will be aimed especially at small farmers, stockbreeders and young people, in particular graduates who wish to set up a business.
This is an EIB subordinated loan – the first to be granted in the microfinance sector in Tunisia and the Mediterranean partner countries – which will enable Taysir to have a true leveraging effect and refinance more easily via local financial institutions. This loan is particularly important for Taysir because Tunisian microfinance institutions are unable to collect savings.
Taysir's activity in Tunisia is innovative in more than one respect. Based on Adie's experience in France, Taysir offers an integrated lending approach combining personalised support for final beneficiaries, the use of new technologies for the mobile banking payment system and innovative partnerships, e.g. with Danone in the rural lending sector for the dairy industry.
Civil society – key for enabling the EIB to support Tunisian micro-enterprises
The finance contract that will be signed on 4 December 2014 between the EIB and Banque Tuniso-Koweitienne (BTK) in the framework of a partnership agreement with Réseau Entreprendre is of symbolic importance and innovative and is set to be repeated in other Mediterranean countries. This is the first time that the EIB has, in association with a Tunisian bank, offered a financial product developed in close cooperation with civil society in order to meet the funding requirements of small project sponsors as efficiently as possible.
The EIB is therefore providing a EUR 20m line of credit to BTK, of which 10% will be earmarked for micro-enterprises monitored by Réseau Entreprendre, which will receive a preferential rate of interest from BTK. Réseau Entreprendre Tunis, which promotes the creation of these micro-enterprises by awarding interest-free loans, combined with customised coaching for entrepreneurs during the early years of their businesses, will select the micro-enterprises that comply with the transparency charter approved by BTK and Réseau Entreprendre.
EIB, the leading international financier in Tunisia
Since the democratic uprising of 2011 in the Mediterranean, the EIB has capitalised on the partnership and trust that it has established with Tunisia and mobilised its available resources and skills to respond as best it can to the economic and social challenges facing the country. Thus, since 2011, the EIB has signed new financing operations totalling EUR 1.150bn for the implementation of new projects in key sectors of the Tunisian economy such as energy, SMEs, infrastructure, education and social housing. The EIB's financing has been stepped up and this year alone, EUR 570m has been provided, so making 2014 a record year.
At a time when the Ministerial Conference on investment in Tunisia is being held, the European Investment Bank (EIB) has mobilised its resources more than ever to support Tunisians in their process of economic transition. Since the democratic uprising in January 2011, capitalising on its expertise and experience in the Mediterranean region, the EIB has invested more than EUR 1bn in Tunisia, in support of projects in such varied areas as energy, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), urban and transport infrastructure, education, social housing and even micro-credit. This year alone, more than EUR 500m has been invested in Tunisia, thus confirming the major role played by the EIB in Tunisia as the leading international financier of the transition.
The EIB is confident that the private sector is set to play a key role in reviving growth and employment in Tunisia and has provided a new line of credit worth EUR 50m (TND 110.13m) to AMEN BANK in support of Tunisian industrial and commercial enterprises. The financing agreement entered into between AMEN BANK and the EIB was signed on Thursday 17 September 2015 by Mr Ahmed El Karm, Chairman of the Executive Board of AMEN BANK, and EIB Vice-President Mr Román Escolano.
At the international “Tunisia 2020” conference, President of the European Investment Bank (EIB) Werner Hoyer announced that Tunisia would receive up to EUR 2.5bn of support by 2020. The objective is to promote inclusive and sustainable growth, the main source of jobs for young people.