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CEB supports micro-businesses in Bosnia and Herzegovina

1 October 2018

PARIS - The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) approved a € 2 million loan to MI-BOSPO Microcredit Foundation to provide funds to micro-enterprises for the partial financing of their productive investments. 

The microfinance sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina developed rapidly after the 1991-1995 war but suffered from the 2008 global financial crisis, which made it difficult for micro-borrowers to repay their loans and caused lending activity to decline. Today, micro-businesses remain an important source of employment in a country where unemployment is stubbornly high at 37%.

Moreover, there is a gender imbalance in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s labour force, as women make up more than 60% of the inactive population and those who are in employment represent only about one-third of the labour force. This is due to a combination of factors, including the lack of financial resources for self-employment.

The loan provided by the CEB aims to tackle these issues by supporting micro- and small businesses, with a special emphasis on those run by women. Through MI-BOSPO, the CEB will channel funds to entrepreneurs who wish to start their own business but have difficulty accessing bank financing, such as women, who represent more than two-thirds of MI-BOSPO’s clients, low-income individuals and households, and farmers.

The programme financed by the CEB is expected to strengthen the micro- and small business sector, contribute to the financial and social empowerment of women, promote employment, and reinforce the financial inclusion of disadvantaged groups in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

CEB Governor Rolf Wenzel said: “Access to employment and financial inclusion are hugely important for sustainable growth and social coherence. The CEB is very much aware of this, which is why in recent years we have redoubled our efforts to help create jobs in our member countries. Through our partnership with MI-BOSPO we aim to channel financing to a large number of entrepreneurs across Bosnia and Herzegovina, particularly to disadvantaged groups. We are pleased that the funds are specifically targeting women business-owners, because we believe that women have an important role to play in the economy of Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

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.

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