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OPIC and Tunisian Banks to Support Economic Growth in Tunisia

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

(OPIC)  TUNIS -- The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government’s development finance institution, today announced its support of the Tunisia Credit Guaranty Facility (TCGF) in partnership with leading Tunisian financial institutions Amen Bank, ATBandAttijari Bank. OPIC support will guarantee up to $50 million of lending through TCGF.

OPIC’s President and CEO, Elizabeth Littlefield, signed an agreement with the partner banks while speaking at the landmark Investment & Entrepreneurship Conference, which fosters business and commerce ties between the United States and Tunisia.

“A robust lending environment in emerging markets, specifically for SMEs, creates enduring employment and is one of the cornerstones of stable, inclusive economic growth,” said Littlefield. “Our cooperation in this facility with established Tunisian institutions will not only boost growth in Tunisia’s franchise sector, but also builds on previous similar OPIC-supported projects that created or sustained thousands of jobs in the region and produced lasting economic growth.” The TCGF will support the Tunisian economy by catalyzing lending to eligible Tunisian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), with specific support to those employing franchise business models. A similar OPIC-supported lending facility in the Middle East loaned over $132 million to regional SMEs, supporting 10,000 local jobs in the process.

By addressing the shortage of credit available to Tunisian SMEs, this facility will stimulate growth in Tunisia’s private sector resulting in job creation and improved supply chains. TCGF is expected to impact 250 SMEs over 10 years.TCGF’s support to Tunisian businesses will enable them to acquire and operate franchises, produce goods and services to supply franchise businesses, and support growth of the broader SME market.

The Middle East Investment Initiative (MEII), a non-profit organization dedicated to stimulating economic growth through innovative finance options for SMEs, will manage the credit facility and work directly with local banks to support additional lending to Tunisian SMEs in local currency. Enclude, an advisory firm dedicated to building more inclusive and sustainable local economies, will partner with MEII to deliver technical assistance and capacity building to TCGF’s partner banks.