European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will provide credit to agribusinesses in Albania through a partnership with the national government.
The Albania Agribusiness Support Facility has been set up to allocate credit through banks and microfinance institutions. The EBRD will also use the new body to shoulder some of the risk when lending to agribusinesses, as well as provide training through a small business support programme.
According to the EBRD, agriculture provides employment for almost 50 per cent of the population in rural areas and accounts for around 20 percent of Albania’s GDP. But loans to the agribusiness sector make up just 2 per cent of total lending to the economy.
“Albania has great potential in agribusiness. But fragmentation, informality and limited access to finance stand in the way of realising this potential,” said Christoph Denk, head of the EBRD’s Albanian office, in a press release.
“By reducing risk [the programme] will also make the sector more attractive to investors,” said Henry Russell, the bank’s director for financial institutions in the western Balkans, Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine.
Shkelqim Cani, Albania’s minister of finance, has said that the Albanian government sees improving the agricultural sector as a key goal.
The EBRD says it has invested nearly €1 billion in over 70 projects in sectors across Albania’s economy.