Arab Spring countries get EBRD money
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) announced its first projects in emerging Arab economies
The EBRD launched investments worth a total of $88.5 million in the three countries, its first investments in the region since it expanded into four Southern and Eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) countries, including Egypt, where it expects to submit investment soon.
In Jordan, the bank extended a $30 million trade finance line for InvestBank to support it as it develops new products. It is aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) which also trade with counterparties from the EBRD's countries of operations.
One of the leading local private equity firms in Tunisia and Morocco, the Maghreb Private Equity Fund III sponsored by AfricInvest-TunInvest - a private equity house in North and sub-Saharan Africa with over $500 million of assets under management - obtained a 20 million euros ($26 million) commitment from the EBRD to make equity and equity-related investments in SMEs in the region.
The bank also extended a loan worth 20 million euros to Morocco's Societe Generale Marocaine de Banques (SGMB) to lend on to micro-enterprises and to SMEs. Additionally, the EBRD is providing SGMB with a trade finance facility worth 5 million euros to support its clients' trade business, including trade with counterparties in the EBRD countries of operation.
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We have very quickly built strong relationships with the authorities across the new region, and also with a large number of private sector companies. We have already built up a strong pipeline of projects to support the region, Hildegard Gacek (pictured), managing director for the SEMED region, said in the statement.
One of the next projects on the EBRD'S agenda for the region is a $100 million investment in the development of a power plant near Amman to help meet Jordan's acute energy shortages.
The bank said the sectors that will be the most immediate beneficiaries of its capital in the region will be the financial sector, the energy sector, municipal services as well as infrastructure in co-operation with the private sector. "There will also be a major focus on involving the private corporate sector in agribusiness," it added.The EBRD, which is owned by 63 countries and two intergovernmental institutions, is on track to invest about 9 billion euros for the whole of this year in its traditional countries of operations in central, south-eastern and Eastern Europe, Russia, the Caucasus and central Asia.