The European Investment Fund (EIF) and the European Union today announced the first EaSI loan transaction in Romania, worth €7.3 million in local currency equivalent. The loan will allow Agricover, the only specialised financial services provider for farmers on the Romanian market, to increase its outreach in the micro-agro sector. Agricover plays an instrumental role in the local economy by enhancing farmers' access to various loan products.
The transaction will enhance the lending capacity of Agricover, whose financial offer is complemented with non-financial services. For example, in 2019, Agricover launched the Romanian Farmers' Club, a platform for knowledge and good practice sharing, aimed at increasing the participation of Romanian farmers in the consultation and elaboration of national and EU policies and regulations. It also put in place a youth training and risk management programme to improve the financial literacy of farmers, especially the younger generation.
Alain Godard, EIF Chief Executive, stated: 'This EaSI-funded transaction will enable the EIF and Agricover to support agro-producers, including micro-farmers, across Romania. This will contribute to the development of the agricultural sector in the country, strengthening its competitiveness and sustaining jobs, thereby contributing to improving the quality of life for local agricultural communities.'
Nicolas Schmit, Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, said: 'I am delighted to announce this very first loan transaction in Romania under our new EaSI Funded Instrument, which will benefit the Romanian agricultural sector, farmers and the local economy. In these challenging times, the EU remains committed to supporting access to microfinance, which can help boost jobs, equal opportunities and inclusion, also at the local level, as part of the recovery efforts in Europe.'
Robert Rekkers, CEO of Agricover Credit IFN, said: 'We are honoured and pleased to be the first agri-finance institution in Romania to secure funding under the EaSI programme provided by the EIF and the European Union. It opens up a wide range of opportunities to assist micro, small and medium-sized farmers to start, develop and further grow their activities. Financing agriculture is our core business and we take pride in our ability to understand the specific needs of a farmer and develop specialised and unique financing solutions to meet their requirements. Financing micro, small and medium-sized farmers is a strategic priority for Agriover Credit IFN during the coming years.'
This is the fourth operation between Agricover and the EIB Group. It capitalises on the strong relationship developed during the last couple of years, as it expands and complements the funding base of Agricover.
The EU Programme for Employment and Social Innovation (EaSI)aims at supporting the EU's objective of high-level employment, adequate social protection, fighting social exclusion and poverty, and improving working conditions. The EaSI programme's Microfinance and Social Entrepreneurship axis consists of a range of EU-level financial instruments funded by the European Union and managed by the European Investment Fund.
The EaSI programme aims to support financial intermediaries that offer microloans to entrepreneurs or finance to social enterprises. The objective is to increase access to microfinance for vulnerable groups who want to set up or develop their business through loans of up to €25 000, and social enterprises through investments of up to €500 000. The microfinance and social entrepreneurship support is being implemented through three EU-level instruments. The first one is the EaSI Guarantee scheme, launched in June 2015, which enables financial intermediaries to reach out to micro-enterprises and social enterprises that they would otherwise not have been able to finance due to risk considerations. The second instrument, the EaSI Capacity Building instrument, was launched in 2016 with the aim of helping financial intermediaries develop their institutional capacity in order to grow and better serve micro and social enterprises. Finally, the recently launched EaSI Loan Fund provides funding in the form of senior and subordinated loans to financial intermediaries in order to boost lending capacity.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the European Union's bank. It is the long-term lending institution of the EU and is the only bank owned by and representing the interests of the European Union Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investments in order to contribute towards EU policy goals. The EIB works closely with other EU institutions to implement EU policy. As the world's largest multilateral borrower and lender by volume, the EIB provides finance and expertise for sound and sustainable investment projects which contribute to furthering EU policy objectives. More than 90% of EIB activity is focused on Europe but the Bank also supports the EU's external and development policies.
The European Investment Fund(EIF) is part of the European Investment Bank Group. Its central mission is to support Europe's micro, small and medium-sized businesses by helping them to access finance. The EIF designs and develops venture and growth capital, guarantees and microfinance instruments, which specifically target this market segment. In this role, the EIF fosters EU objectives in support of innovation, research and development, entrepreneurship, growth and employment.
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