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- OPEC Fund €20 million loan to promote access to finance for local businesses in Albania
OPEC Fund €20 million loan to promote access to finance for local businesses in Albania
October 30, 2023: The OPEC Fund for International Development (the OPEC Fund) is providing a €20 million loan to Raiffeisen Bank Albania (RBAL) for on-lending to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), especially women-led businesses and companies that are supporting food security or green energy projects.
The OPEC Fund’s loan, the first to a financial institution in Albania, is extended in parallel with a €50 million loan by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The funds are eligible against RBAL’s Minimum Requirements for own funds and Eligible Liabilities (MREL), helping the bank to achieve its target as set by the Bank of Albania.
OPEC Fund Assistant Director-General Tareq Alnassar said:
“We are pleased to partner with Raiffeisen Bank Albania and EBRD to improve local MSMEs’ access to finance, specifically to support women-led micro and small businesses, food security and green energy projects. Together we are making a significant contribution to bolster the strategically important micro, small and medium-sized enterprise sector, which is the engine of growth and job creation.”
Aleksandra Vukosavljevic, EBRD Director of Financial Institutions for the Western Balkans and Eastern Europe, said:
“We are proud to be among the pioneering MREL providers in a region that has limited access to such funding. Financing under this agreement, together with funding mobilised from the OPEC Fund, will enable Raiffeisen Bank Albania to provide a meaningful increase in financial opportunities for MSMEs, helping them thrive and boost the country’s economy. Moreover, we are confident that this project will serve as a catalyst, paving the way for broader interest in these instruments, including through the involvement of private investors.”
Christian Canacaris, CEO of Raiffeisen Bank Albania, added:
“We are glad to be the first bank in the country to sign this agreement and engage in this remarkable partnership. It is a moment of pride for us to extend our partnership with the EBRD and we are happy to initiate our collaboration with the OPEC Fund. Once again, Raiffeisen Bank Albania demonstrates its commitment to easing the financing of MSMEs and specifically to empowering women in business and green financing, by strengthening our financial capacities and compliance with regulatory requirements. We eagerly wait for the positive outcome and impact of this joint agreement.”
Micro, small and medium-sized enterprises are the backbone of Albania’s economy, accounting for 99 percent of all businesses, providing 82 percent of employment and producing 64 percent of all exports. The OPEC Fund/EBRD loan will also support RBAL´s lending to the agribusiness sector to strengthen food security and value chain resilience.
To date, the OPEC Fund has supported Albania’s goal of sustainable development with over US$120 million project financing in the transportation, agriculture, health, education and water & sanitation sectors.
About the OPEC Fund
The OPEC Fund for International Development (the OPEC Fund) is the only globally mandated development institution that provides financing from member countries to non-member countries exclusively. The organization works in cooperation with developing country partners and the international development community to stimulate economic growth and social progress in low- and middle-income countries around the world. The OPEC Fund was established in 1976 with a distinct purpose: to drive development, strengthen communities and empower people. Our work is people-centered, focusing on financing projects that meet essential needs, such as food, energy, infrastructure, employment (particularly relating to MSMEs), clean water and sanitation, healthcare and education. To date, the OPEC Fund has committed more than US$24 billion to development projects in over 125 countries with an estimated total project cost of US$190 billion. The OPEC Fund is rated AA+/Outlook Stable by Fitch and AA, Outlook Positive by S&P. Our vision is a world where sustainable development is a reality for all.