AUSTRIA, 31st October, 2023 (WAM) — The OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) 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 first loan 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, stated that 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.
He added that this project will serve as a catalyst, paving the way for broader interest in these instruments, including through the involvement of private investors.
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 sustainable development goal with over US$120 million in project financing in the transportation, agriculture, health, education and water and sanitation sectors.