CEB strengthens support for micro-businesses in Bosnia and Herzegovina
29 January 2019
PARIS - The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) has approved a € 5 million loan to Mikrofin Microcredit Company to provide funds to micro-enterprises in Bosnia and Herzegovina for the partial financing of their productive investments.
Micro-businesses play an important role in the economy of Bosnia and Herzegovina and are a major source of employment in a country where unemployment rates are much higher than the EU average. Nevertheless, micro-business owners have difficulty accessing financing for their productive investments.
Micro-lender Mikrofin, based in Banja Luka, is one of the largest microcredit organisations in Bosnia and Herzegovina and caters to difficult-to-reach and disadvantaged segments of the self-employed population, such as people living in remote rural areas and women. 70% of Mikrofin’s business loans involve agriculture finance, of which two-thirds are used for livestock, dairy farming and small cattle farming.
The funds provided by the CEB will be channelled through to micro-enterprises, farmers and households engaged in small family businesses. Particular attention will be given to low-income micro-entrepreneurs wishing to develop their business. It is expected that at least 3,800 micro-enterprises, farms and households with a family business will benefit from the funds.This is not the first loan provided to Mikrofin by the CEB. The first loan of € 2.5 million was approved in 2014 and has fully disbursed. In 2018, the CEB approved loans of € 2 million to two other micro-lenders in Bosnia and Herzegovina, MI-BOSPO and Partner, both based in Tuzla.
Set up in 1956, the CEB (Council of Europe Development Bank) has 41 member states. Twenty-two Central, Eastern and South Eastern European countries, forming the Bank's target countries, are listed among the member states. As a major instrument of the policy of solidarity in Europe, the Bank finances social projects by making available resources raised in conditions reflecting the quality of its rating (Aa1 with Moody's, outlook stable, AA+ with Standard & Poor's, outlook positive and AA+ with Fitch Ratings, outlook stable). It thus grants loans to its member states, and to financial institutions and local authorities in its member states for the financing of projects in the social sector, in accordance with its Articles of Agreement.