• The award acknowledges the operation’s innovative contribution to inclusive and sustainable growth
  • EIB Global’s impact incentive loan to Intesa Sanpaolo Banka BiH aims to foster gender equality, youth employment and create inclusive economic opportunities for vulnerable groups

Together with Intesa Sanpaolo Banka BiH, EIB Global received today a prestigious Uxolo Award for an innovative credit line for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with long-term social impact. The awards ceremony took place during the Uxolo and TXF Global 2023 Development and Impact Finance Conference in Lisbon. The jury selected the winners among the applications submitted in 2022 from around the world, on the merit of innovation, impact and pioneering solutions in the emerging markets.

The impact incentive loan, first developed by the EIB in 2020, aims at fostering youth employment, gender equality and socially inclusive practices among small businesses and mid-caps. This innovative financing entails a combination of EIB funding with a reward mechanism for companies that meet specific targets towards enhancing leadership, employment and career development opportunities for women, young people and vulnerable social groups.

EIB Vice-President responsible for the Western Balkans Lilyana Pavlova said: “We would like to thank the jury and our partners in Intesa Sanpaolo Banka BiH for recognising the importance of this socially beneficial financial product. This award is further proof of our commitment to ensure just and sustainable growth that creates equal opportunities for all. Through this innovative type of financing that we launched for the first time in the Western Balkans, we intend to tackle inequalities in the labour market and support companies in their social responsibility aspirations. As the EU bank, we are committed to delivering financing and projects that benefit all communities equally.”

CEO of Intesa Sanpaolo Banka BiH Marco Trevisan said: At Intesa Sanpaolo Banka BiH we believe in the power of finance to drive positive change, and we are proud to work alongside EIB Global in achieving these goals. Through this credit line we aim to empower entrepreneurs and contribute to the development of a more inclusive and equitable business environment. This award inspires us to continue our efforts in supporting the development and prosperity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, promoting social responsibility and advancing the well-being of our society.”

The Uxolo award is a way of recognising the crucial work of development finance stakeholders of all sizes across the globe. It recognises the importance of small transactions that can be more impactful when they are pathfinders for new markets or when they revolutionise the way traditional development projects have been financed. It rewards those who demonstrate innovation – in terms of financial engineering, risk mitigation and diversification of the traditional development funding pool – and propose practical solutions to real world development problems.

Director of Uxolo Development Finance Sam McManus stated: “We were enormously pleased to select the EIB Global/Intesa Sanpaolo Banka BiH Credit Line for Uxolo’s 2022 Impact-Linked Deal of the Year. Implementing an innovative twist on a traditional credit line, this deal has managed to significantly boost its impact and directly benefit social inclusion along the lines of gender and youth, as well as support the strengthening of economic resilience and sustainable growth in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Intertwining impact with well-known financial mechanisms in this way is a sure course of action for accelerating our journey to achieving the United Nations sustainable development goals (SDGs), and this deal managed to hit SDGs 5, 10 and 8.”

Uxolo’s 2022 Deals of the Year stretched from landmark conservation bonds and complex blended finance applications to inventive and impactful grants and guarantees.

Background information

About the European Investment Bank and EIB Global

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the European Union’s long-term financing institution owned by its Member States. It finances sound investments contributing to EU policy goals. The EIB Group supports projects in four priority areas — infrastructure, innovation, climate and environment, and small and medium-sized enterprises.

EIB Global is the EIB Group’s specialised arm dedicated to operations outside the European Union and a key partner of the EU’s Global Gateway strategy. We aim to support at least €100 billion of investment by the end of 2027, around one-third of the overall target of Global Gateway. Within Team Europe, EIB Global fosters strong, focused partnerships alongside fellow development finance institutions and civil society. EIB Global brings the Group closer to local communities, companies and institutions through our offices across the world.

About Intesa Sanpaolo Banka BiH:

Intesa Sanpaolo Banka BiH is a commercial bank and one of the leading banks in Bosnia and Herzegovina with long business continuity. The Bank provides all types of banking services in domestic and foreign currencies with a wide portfolio of services intended for corporate banking and retail. It operates through five main regional branches and 44 operating units and has an extensive network of ATMs and POS devices. It is present on the entire territory of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Republic of Srpska and Brčko District. Intesa Sanpaolo Banka BiH is a member of the PBZ Group, which is also part of the Intesa Sanpaolo Group, one of the largest banking groups in Europe.