The European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE) teamed up with the Central Bank of Armenia (CBA) on April 4 to hold the first Bankers’ Roundtable on Sustainable Financing for Entrepreneurs in Yerevan, in an event organised with the support of the EU4Business initiative.
The gathering of influential bank executives from Armenia explored the role of the banking sector in achieving maximum sustainability and impact for providing financial services to micro and small enterprises (MSEs).
Moderated by George Kadagidze, former Governor of the National Bank of Georgia, the event combined national and international experience to explore recent developments in MSE finance and share insights across the banking sector. Special focus was devoted to the importance of lending in local currency: participants discussed ways to overcome challenges in providing local currency financing and exchanged on improving and deepening access to local currency loans for Armenian entrepreneurs.
EFSE Board Chairman Christoph Tiskens said: “Micro and small enterprises are the main engine for economic growth and employment in Armenia. As a fund that promotes MSE financing and job creation in the European Eastern Neighbourhood Region, EFSE aims to help build an enabling environment for sustainably supporting this important segment. The Central Bank of Armenia has been a particularly valuable ally in this respect by contributing funds that expand EFSE’s ability to offer local currency loans to its partners.”
Arthur Javadyan, Chairman of the Central Bank of Armenia, added: “We are proud to see that EFSE’s portfolio is continuously growing both in value and in the number of partner lending institutions in Armenia. As of today, we can state that the results gained from the type of programs offered by EFSE are pleasing. We are looking forward to the further extension of our collaboration.”
One of the largest development finance funds worldwide, the European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE) aims to foster economic development and prosperity in Southeast Europe and the Eastern Neighbourhood Region by investing in the success of micro and small enterprises as well as improved living conditions for private households. As access to financial services is key to developing this segment, EFSE focuses on helping local financial sectors strengthen their ability to provide responsible financing for this target group. Alongside its investment activities through local partners, EFSE multiplies its impact through the EFSE Development Facility, which provides technical assistance, training, and other nonfinancial support to entrepreneurs and institutions.
EFSE was initiated by KfW Development Bank with the financial support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the European Commission under the EU4Business initiative, which covers all EU support for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the region of the Eastern Partnership which brings together the EU, its member states and six partner countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.