The European Investment Bank (EIB) is lending EUR 50 million to finance projects promoted by SMEs in Armenia, particularly in the agro-processing, rural and tourism sectors.
The EIB loan is being granted to the Central Bank of Armenia, which will make the EIB funds available to well-established financial intermediaries for on-lending to smaller projects. The loan will target particularly the agro-processing and rural sectors, which play an important strategic role in terms of development.
EIB Vice-President Wilhelm Molterer, responsible for EIB lending in Armenia, commented: “This is the first EIB loan extended via a Central Bank in the EU’s Eastern Partnership. We are proud of this innovative cooperation, which underpins our engagement in Armenia.”
Chairman of the Central Bank of Armenia Arthur Javadyan, added:” This loan to SMEs will complement our long-term fruitful cooperation and increase the EIB’s role in the sustainable development of the Armenian economy.”
Even though Armenia’s SMEs account for the majority of businesses in the country, their contribution to GDP, employment, foreign trade and foreign investment remains low. The provision of affordable targeted loans to facilitate the adoption of modern technologies is a precondition for the development of the Armenian SME sector. The loan is in line with the objectives of the EIB’s mandate for lending outside the EU, which focuses on the development of the local private sector, in particular support for SMEs, social and economic infrastructure and climate change mitigation and adaptation.