>@David Yormesor/EIB

The European Investment Bank (EIB) signed a EUR 3 million loan agreement with Action pour la Coopération avec la Microentreprise (ACME) aimed at broadening access to finance for women and rural borrowers and for people living in areas hit by Hurricane Matthew. This EIB credit line will serve to finance up to 20 000 microloans in Haiti and provide access to credit for disadvantaged people throughout the country.

The loan was signed in the framework of the Caribbean and Pacific Impact Finance Facility, a lending mechanism endowed with 2.3 billion Haitian gourdes (EUR 40 million) which supports microfinance markets in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries and targets poverty reduction. It forms part of the EIB’s support for reconstruction following the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Matthew in Haiti. ACME will be able to use this loan to broaden its customer base, mainly focusing on the needs of microentrepreneurs affected by Hurricane Matthew. It is estimated that the private sector suffered 80% of the HTG 126.2 billion (EUR 1.6 billion) worth of damage caused by the disaster. In the hardest hit areas, ACME provides services for some 2 200 customers through two of its branches.

At the signing ceremony in Port-au-Prince, EIB Vice-President Pim van Ballekom said about the new loan: “The EIB’s increased support for microfinance institutions in the Caribbean region testifies to our commitment to helping the most vulnerable people access financial services in order to improve the prospects of the inhabitants of urban and rural areas. The development of the private sector is essential to helping communities get back on their feet after natural disasters and this loan agreement will contribute to the efforts to rebuild in Haiti. Today’s announcement during my visit to the island underlines the EIB’s commitment to supporting private sector development in Haiti and the wider Caribbean region.”

ACME’s CEO Sinior Raymond added: "Six years on, in the post-Matthew context, this new EIB loan will enable ACME not only to continue fulfilling its remit in the best possible way but also to help boost economic activity in the worst hit regions."

ACME and the EIB have been working together since the signing of a HTG 223 million (EUR 3 million) loan in 2011 to help the island recover from the 2010 earthquake.

The EIB is the world’s leading multilateral public finance provider. Around 10% of its loans support investment outside the European Union.

The European Investment Bank is the world’s biggest international public bank. Since its first operation in the region, it has supported development and economic activity in the Caribbean with loans and equity investments currently amounting to HTG 126.2 billion (EUR 1.6 billion). In Haiti, the EIB has granted a total of HTG 1.2 billion (EUR 16 million) in support of private sector development projects (SMEs).