The add-on pressures on socio-economic development stemming from the Arab Spring are forcing the financial sector across the region to respond to new and expanded challenges. A new study by the EIB explains why increased access to finance remains a top policy priority across the Mediterranean countries. Banks in the region are considered sound. They attract savings and are generally stable. Still, to provide a substantial contribution to growth, they could play a stronger role in intermediation, lend more to SMEs and to the private sector in general.

The EIB is the leading public financial institution in the region, supplying more than half of Europe’s financial contribution to sustainable projects. As part of the EU response to the Arab Spring, it has committed to increasing its financing operations in Tunisia, Egypt, Morocco and Jordan.