LONDON, ENGLAND —The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the International Cooperation and Development Fund (TaiwanICDF) have signed a $15 million contribution agreement to co-finance loans to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the agribusiness sector.

Access to finance remains a key constraint to SME development in the countries where the EBRD invests. Without financing, small businesses are not able to expand, thrive and create jobs. The funding provided by TaiwanICDF will increase the EBRD’s capacity to provide the required financing for agribusiness private sector projects where syndication would otherwise be difficult to achieve.

“This agreement confirms our strong cooperation and our common goal to boost the private sector in the region,” said Alain Pilloux, EBRD managing director for Industry, Commerce and Agribusiness. “The growth of SMEs is fundamental for a healthy market economy and we are delighted to be able to commit more resources to this end.”

 “For the past few decades, TaiwanICDF has worked with the EBRD on the development of small businesses and environmental projects,” said Weber V.B. Shih, TaiwanICDF secretary general. “The new partnership to set up an agribusiness account will enable both organizations to work together to assist local agribusiness in upgrading the efficiency of the production processes. The program also echoes the international development agenda, particularly related to food security.”

The EBRD enjoys strong cooperation with Taiwanese companies, with total joint Taiwanese-EBRD investment standing at over $ 1.1 billion, predominantly in financial institutions, industry, commerce and agribusiness.