OTP Bank Albania, the first Bank in the country to offer financing for SMEs, under the EBRD Program, AATSF in Albania

OTP Bank Albania, the first Bank in the country to offer financing for SMEs, under the EBRD Program, AATSF in Albania

7.11 million euros under the EBRD Program for
Agribusiness and Tourism in support of local business

OTP Bank Albania and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the EBRD Program for Support of Agribusiness and Tourism in Albania are joining forces to improve access to finance for local businesses in the tourism and agribusiness sector.

The EBRD, the Albanian Government and the EU will provide the second tranche of 7.11 million Euros for loans in the agribusiness and tourism sector, sharing the risk with its partner, OTP Bank Albania. The program also includes a mechanism for Coverage of First Losses with the contribution of the Albanian Government.

Bledar Shella, Chief Executive Officer of OTP Bank Albania said: “We highly appreciate this initiative of the Albanian Government and EBRD, that in cooperation with the EU are engaged to further support the tourism and agriculture sectors, which play a very important role in the country’s economy. OTP Bank Albania has an excellent cooperation with the EBRD, we are very pleased to enter into financing for these growing sectors, and we believe that together we will strengthen our important role in the development of the economy and more specifically the sectors of tourism and agriculture in the country”.

Ekaterina Solovova, EBRD Director in Albania said: We are happy to increase support for the tourism and agribusiness sector in Albania under this joint program with the EU and the Albanian Government by further enhancing the excellent cooperation with OTP Bank Albania. Agribusiness and tourism are key sectors in the economy and improving access to finance is particularly important. We are grateful to our partners for their support of this important program. ”

Frida Krifca, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development said: “We are fully committed to guarantee the well-functioning of all mechanisms that enable reducing the gap between agri producers and financial institutions. As part of the 180 million euro fund allocated under the agreement with EBRD, the Ministry of Agriculture and Tourism have committed 36 million euro for first loss covers as additional support for each sub-borrower, business or individual.”

Mirela Kumbaro, Minister of Tourism and Environment said: “Our strategy is to offer all season tourism, not only in summer and build on the offer including agritourism, ecotourism, sports tourism etc. In this context the AATSF is key to the development of the sector providing support for farms or agritourisms. Agritourisms have a vital role for the promotion of our best values and this mechanism where the government provides guarantee for the loans consists in another incentive to the sector. It is an initiative that directs all the funds to those who have the vision and passion to invest.

Agribusiness is one of the most important sectors of the economy. It provides employment for 50% of the population and accounts for about 20% of GDP. Despite this, the sector lacks sufficient access to finance. Tourism is, also, one of the strategic sectors of growth and employment and an important factor for long-term sustainable growth and competitiveness. But this sector suffers from similar restrictions regarding access to finance especially as a result of COVID-19 and the tragic 2019 earthquake.