By Axel Reiserer
Micro, small and medium-sized businesses (MSMEs) in Kosovo will benefit from a joint effort of development institutions to strengthen the competitiveness of this crucial business sector faced with the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will provide a €2 million(US$2.31million) loan to the Agency for Finance (AFK), one of the leading microfinance institutions in the country. This will be complemented by the European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE) and CoopEst, who are extending €2 million and €0.5 million, respectively.
The funds will be on-lent to local enterprises, increasing much-needed access to finance and supporting small businesses facing unprecedented challenges. A key goal of the financing will be boosting the competitiveness of local companies and strengthening their market position from which customers will also benefit. MSMEs represent more than 90 per cent of all companies in Kosovo.
AFK is the fourth-largest microfinance institution in Kosovo. Operating since October 2000, AFK provides access to finance to micro and small firms run by entrepreneurs, especially in rural areas. The institution services the whole of Kosovo through a network of 23 branches.
The EBRD has invested over €484 million in Kosovo through 72 projects since it began operations there in 2012. Supporting the competitive development of the private sector is one of the Bank’s key priorities in Kosovo.