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EU and EBRD allocate 100 million euros in financing for Albanian tourism, this is how it will be invested

A flagship Tourism Development Programme, co-funded by the European Union (EU) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), was launched in Tirana on Friday by Prime Minister Edi Rama, Minister of Tourism and Environment Blendi Klosi, Head of the EU Delegation to Albania Ambassador Luigi Soreca and EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti. The total budget of the programme amounts to Euro 105 mln, including Euro 40 million as EU contribution, while EBRD will make available additional resources up to Euro 60 million under sovereign guarantee and Euro 5 million for small loans to small and medium sized enterprises (SME) via local financial institutions, the EU delegation to Albania said in a press release. The programme aims to enhance the contribution of quality and sustainable tourism to economic growth and competitiveness of Albanian regions, by raising the quality and sustainability of the tourism offer in four areas (Berat, Korca, Fier and Shkodra). It will also increase the attractiveness of cultural, natural and other assets for tourists and improve local sustainable development of priority infrastructures in the framework of the Albanian regional development policy. Tourism is an essential source of income and job creation in many economies and has positive effects on a wide variety of industries and services. With this contribution of Euro 40 million to tourism development, the EU will assist the promotion of natural resources, social, and cultural heritage, with an impressive multiplier effect on the economy. The EBRD will manage the programme and is designing a complementary sovereign loan facility to Albania for up to Euro 60 million to co-finance alongside EU grants the investments identified under the Programme in close cooperation with the Albanian Development Fund. "I am proud that the EU is investing Euro 40 million, in excellent cooperation with EBRD, to drive regeneration and economic development in Albania. Touristic development is of course a tool to enhance the experience of visitors and the quality of life of host communities. But if poorly planned or developed to excess, it could destroy the very qualities that make Albania unique. This is today's challenge: to help build a tourism sector that strengthens the social fabric and economic development, by giving value to the natural beauties and cultural assets of this beautiful country," EU Ambassador Soreca said. The event brought together policymakers, the mayors of Berat, Fier, Korca and Shkodra, two Associations of Municipalities, representatives of various ministries, tourism associations, businesses, and 'donors. The EBRD said on Friday it signed two agreements worth a total of Euro 60 million with Albania's fifth biggest bank OTP to support SMEs, on the occasion of an official visit of EBRD's President Sir Suma Chakrabarti in Tirana. President Chakrabarti's visit comes before EBRD annual meeting next week in Sarajevo, the statement added. Albanian SMEs will benefit from better access to finance and enhanced chances in trade, thanks to two agreements between the EBRD and Banka OTP Albania that were signed by the EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti and the CEO of Banka OTP Albania, Bledar Sheila. President Chakrabarti is in Albania during a tour of the Western Balkans in preparation for the Bank's 2019 Annual Meeting in Sarajevo next week A trade finance facility for Euro 10 million as part of the EBRD's Trade Facilitation Programme will support both large enterprises and SMEs active in the international trade, including trade with other countries in the Western Balkans region and green trade in high-performance technologies and services. Meanwhile, a risk-sharing framework of Euro 50 million will make it easier for both large and small enterprises to gain access to finance, allowing Banka OTP Albania to meet the financial needs of businesses while keeping risk-weighted assets under control. Banka OTP Albania is the fifth largest bank in Albania in terms of assets and fourth in terms of loan portfolio. It has an asset base of Euro 677 million and a network of 38 branches. To date, the EBRD has invested nearly Euro 1.3 billion in 87 projects in Albania.

Source: Tiranapost

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