>@Mercedes Landete/EIB

The operation signed today in Buenos Aires is the EIB's first with the Argentine Republic since 1996

The Argentine Bank of Investment and Foreign Trade will manage the funds

The European Investment Bank (EIB) will provide USD 71m to the Argentine Republic to finance investment in Argentine small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This liquidity will enable them to continue growing and creating jobs in the country. EIB Vice-President responsible for Latin America Román Escolano and Argentine Minister of Finance Luis Caputo signed the USD 71m loan today in Buenos Aires. It will enable the EU bank to assist Argentine businesses via the Bank of Investment and Foreign Trade (BICE), which will manage the funds and provide at least an additional USD 71m.

The operation signed today is the EIB's first with the Argentine public sector since 1996. The EU bank began operations in Argentina in 1994, and since then has signed 13 operations in the public and private sectors aiming to support the country's economic growth. The loan granted today is intended to foster productivity in Argentine SMEs, which are the main drivers of the national economy and will be able to benefit from the favourable borrowing conditions provided by the EIB in terms of both maturities and interest rates.

At the signing ceremony, EIB Vice-President Román Escolano said: “The positive impact of this loan will be its contribution to private sector economic development in Argentina, granting credit to businesses to provide liquidity to all productive sectors. The operation signed today shows the EU's commitment to working with Argentina and our steadfast support for its economic reforms.

Argentine Minister of Finance Luis Caputo highlighted the EIB's support for granting loans to SMEs. “Recovering the world's trust in Argentina is a central pillar of the strategy of the Government and this Ministry. This work has made it possible for us to obtain good financing terms for SMEs and entrepreneurs.”

The funding secured with the EIB will enable us to achieve our goal as a development bank: promoting financial inclusion and extending the maturities of the loans used to finance businesses across the country. We will steer these funds into loans granted directly or via our second-tier channel, where they will be used to finance productive investment, exports and renewable energy projects promoting sustainable growth,” said BICE President Pablo Garcia.

The EIB loan signed today with the Argentine Republic is covered by the EU guarantee agreement and is granted under the EU Latin America lending mandate 2014-2020.

The EIB Vice-President responsible for Latin America is in Argentina as part of a visit to several countries in the region, where he has signed other related agreements to drive economic, social and environmental development.

The EIB in Latin America

The European Union is Latin America's main economic development partner and the EIB, as the EU bank, supports cooperation between the two regions by financing projects that help meet EU foreign policy objectives: economic development, social and environmental infrastructure, private sector development and tackling climate change.

The EIB provides economic support for projects in Latin America by facilitating long-term investment with favourable conditions and by providing the technical support needed to ensure that these projects deliver positive social, economic and environmental results.

Since the EIB began operations in Latin America in 1993, it has provided financing for over 100 projects in 14 countries in the region, with total investment of EUR 7bn. In recent years, the EU bank has provided around EUR 900m to implement projects in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, Mexico, Panama and Paraguay.