The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is rolling out a programme in response to the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic in Egypt, with a financial package for QNB Al-Ahli, one of the country’s largest commercial banks, to support local enterprises.
In a statement EBRD said the package is the first investment to be delivered in the country under the EBRD’s coronavirus Solidarity Package, which was set up to meet the immediate short-term financing needs of existing clients.
The EBRD extended a $100 million senior loan to QNB Al-Ahli for on-lending to firms, with a special focus on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that are experiencing a decrease in their activities, turnover and/or profitability, according to the statement.
EBRD said that small businesses form an important segment of the Egyptian economy and supporting them in these challenging times remains a priority for EBRD.
In addition, EBRD increased an existing uncommitted trade finance limit for QNB Al-Ahli by $100 million under the EBRD’s Trade Facilitation Programme to reach $250 million, to help meet the increased demand for import and export transactions.
“We are very proud to roll out our swift support to the Egyptian economy by partnering with QNB Al-Ahli. This financial package is key for the resilience of local Egyptian businesses. It will provide much-needed funding to SMEs, large enterprises and trade companies in this global crisis,” Heike Harmgart, EBRD's managing director for the southern and eastern Mediterranean region said.
QNB Al-Ahli is one of the EBRD’s largest clients in the financial sector in Egypt, which has been a longstanding partner of EBRD since 2015, when the first SME loan and a trade finance facility were signed, according to the statement.
EBRD said the coronavirus pandemic and its economic impact present an unprecedented challenge to the regions where the EBRD invests and the bank has rapidly stepped up its support with a response and recovery programme to help the 38 emerging economies where it invests.
EBRD said it expects to dedicate the entirety of its activities to combating the economic impact of the crisis and stands ready to provide support worth €21 billion over the period 2020-2021.
Egypt is a founding member of the EBRD. Since the start of its operations in Egypt in 2012, the bank has invested over €6 billion in 115 projects in the country.