WASHINGTON, May 17, 2012 – The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved today an additional financing loan in the amount of Euro 90.1 million (US$120 million equivalent) for the Bosnia and Herzegovina (BH) Enhancing Access to Finance for Small and Medium Enterprises Project (EAF SME).
The original EAF SME credit line has so far enabled over 105 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in BH to gain access to finance in a depressed economic environment. It is estimated that this has contributed to the creation of 1,120 new jobs and the retention of an additional 4,000 jobs between August 2010 and February 2012. Credit fund recipients have used the credit line for working capital and investment needs, which are essential for SMEs to remain competitive during the economic downturn.
“The results achieved under the first EAF SME project are impressive”, said Anabela Abreu, World Bank Country Manager for BH. “I look forward to continuation of successful activities under the additional financing loan and the relief and support it will hopefully continue to provide to small and medium enterprises in Bosnia and Herzegovina”.
The additional financing will complement the original loan to boost support to the enterprise sector by providing access to competitive finance for working capital and investments in an environment of constrained funding due to the impact of the Eurozone crisis. Over the next 4 years, 140 companies in Bosnia and Herzegovina are expected to directly benefit from medium to long term financing, and many more indirectly. Access to these funds will provide SMEs with an opportunity to strengthen their export activities, increase turnover, and hire new workers.
The World Bank portfolio of active projects in BH now includes 14 operations totaling approximately US$462.3 million. Areas of support include agriculture, energy, environment, health, social safety and employment, local infrastructure and private sector development.