The FINANCIAL — The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is helping Tunisia expand international and intra-regional trade by providing a US$ 10 million trade finance line to Union Internationale de Banques (UIB), a subsidiary of Société Générale.
The trade finance line will allow UIB to issue guarantees in favour of confirming banks and provide cash financing for pre-export and post-import financing as well as for local distribution, according to EBRD.
Technical cooperation projects will accompany this trade finance facility, to transfer know-how and share best practices in trade finance.
Antoine Sallé de Chou, Head of the EBRD office in Tunisia, said: “We are very pleased to welcome UIB to our Trade Facilitation Programme (TFP), which will boost cross-border trade in the country, reaching out to Tunisian exporters and importers as well as contributing to overall economic growth.”
Kamel Neji, UIB General Director, said: “It is a great pleasure for UIB to sign this trade finance line agreement with the EBRD and to participate in its Trade Facilitation Programme. This second deal expands our partnership with the EBRD and is in line with our ambitious growth strategy for the corporate and SME market for 2017-20. It will allow us to raise to a new level our recognised expertise in trade finance and our support for companies expanding their international trade. It will benefit our current and future clients, as well as the Tunisian economy.”
Launched in 1999, the EBRD’s Trade Finance Programme aims to promote foreign trade to, from and among the countries in which the EBRD invests. Through the Programme, the EBRD provides guarantees to international confirming banks and short-term loans to selected banks and factoring companies for on-lending to local exporters, importers and distributors.
The EBRD’s TFP currently includes 96 partner banks in 26 countries where the EBRD invests, with limits exceeding €1.5 billion in total and more than 800 confirming banks worldwide.
Supporting environmentally friendly development, the EBRD launched its Green TFP in 2016, a new concept under the Trade Facilitation Programme. Green TFP facilities have similar terms and conditions to other TFP facilities but are available only for the financing of exports, imports and local distribution of imported green technologies and services. In May 2017, Green TFP won an award for “innovative product” from the leading business and finance publication Global Finance.
Since September 2012, when EBRD operations began in Tunisia, the Bank has invested €364 million through 25 projects in the country. Supporting the regional development of the country outside Tunis is a special priority for the Bank and the EBRD therefore opened a second office in October last year, in Sfax.