Intesa Sanpaolo Bank Albania has joined the Albania Agribusiness Support Facility. Photo courtesy of EBRD.
LONDON, ENGLAND – A new addition to the Albania Agribusiness Support Facility is expected to free up to €50 million in loans for the Albanian agribusiness sector, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said on July 6.

Intesa Sanpaolo Bank Albania has joined the support facility, and will offer the loans. The loans will be supported by a first-loss risk cover provided by the Albanian government.

In addition, technical cooperation funds will be available to support the bank to develop new financial products that meet the needs of the local agribusiness sector.

Agribusiness is a vital sector of Albania’s economy. It provides employment for nearly half of the population and accounts for around 20% of the country’s GDP. However, the sector remains underserved by financial institutions, with loans to agribusiness accounting for only 2% of total lending to the economy.

The AASF, launched by the EBRD and the government of Albania last year, is addressing this challenge by improving access to finance for local agribusinesses through dedicated credit lines or by sharing the risk of lending with participating financial institutions. The government has committed to make available up to €36 million over three years to support the Facility and the EBRD is providing up to €100 million in funding and risk-sharing facilities, which will enable an additional €80 million of investment by the participating financial institutions.

Intesa Sanpaolo Bank Albania is a fully owned subsidiary of Intesa Sanpaolo Spa and the fourth largest bank in Albania. The bank has a strong regional network of branches which will help AASF to reach rural clients. Intesa Sanpaolo Bank becomes the fifth financial institution to join the Facility after ProCredit, NOA, Fondi Besa and Société Générale.

“The signing represents a significant milestone in the implementation of our Facility in support of Albania’s agribusiness,” said Matteo Colangeli, EBRD head of Albania. “We now have five participating financial institutions committed to step up their lending to the sector under our Facility and expect an acceleration in investments over the coming months. Strengthening the competitiveness of the agribusiness sector will generate sustainable growth in the Albanian economy, an objective to which we are firmly committed.”

Since the start of its operations in Albania, the EBRD has invested more than €1 billion in the country.