RINA Consulting has been collaborating with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) as Project Consultant in credit line projects for quite some time. In fact, we have worked on projects such as WeBPSSF, WEBSEFF and BiH-SME-CSF in the Balkans, MonSEFF in Mongolia, KYRSEFF in Kyrgyzstan, TurSEFF, MIDSEFF and TUREEFF in Turkey and MORSEFF in Morocco. These projects all had credit lines focused on sustaining projects pertaining to both the environment and sustainability sector and to companies' competitiveness.
With the EU4Business - EBRD Credit Line project, we are sustaining, together with the EBRD and the EU, small-medium enterprises (SMEs) of any sector in Georgia and Moldavia. The project – that will be activated soon also in Ukraine - establishes a credit line through local banks to loan money to local SMEs. The aim is to encourage local SMEs not only to be sustainable and conform to European quality regulations, but to improve, where necessary, their technical competences, the health and safety of working conditions and their products' quality, in order to make them competitive for the European market.
Both the EU and the EBRD have recognized the importance of such a project - as demonstrated by the visit on site of the EBRD President, Suma Chakrabarti, and the EU Ambassador, Janos Herman, on 5 September 2017. The fundamental importance of this initiative is that it not only brings more qualitative products to the European market, but it helps the local economic growth of the countries in which it is implemented. SMEs are the core of a country's economy and the fact that they receive incentives to invest in better technology and materials and comply to European regulations will generate an increase in the country's productivity and economic exchange. The key element of the EBRD Credit Line, that differentiates it from other credit lines, is that it offers, by means of EU funds, free technical assistance and a grant, for each company that implements it, of up to 15% at the project's end.
As of today, in Georgia, approximately 80 SME's have taken or have already applied for a loan at local banks that collaborate to our project. The total investment, at the moment, is of approximately 50 million euros, which is 50% of the amount currently allocated for Georgia. This amount has been achieved in less than a year, which is phenomenal and indicates the economic potential and desire to grow of the country, as well as the incredible potential of this kind of project. From our analysis, one of the major sectors implementing the credit line is food and beverage, but more and more companies are becoming interested in the EU4Business - EBRD Credit Line.
RINA Consulting is proud to be part of such a project. In particular, this year we were not simply carrying out tasks assigned us by the EBRD, but we were fully collaborating with the bank, on the same level, helping to define and refine the various aspects of the project for a successful start-up. This has led to the opening of a project office in Tbilisi, Georgia, which indicates our intent to continue the excellent work and develop many more projects of this kind.
For more information about the project, please contact Giovanni Vaccari.