May 30, 2024
Support for the private sector: EIB to provide €20 million in financing and a portfolio guarantee to Banque Mauritanienne de l’Investissement
– By Godswill Odiong

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This is the first time the EIB (https://www.EIB.org) and the Mauritanian financial sector have worked together since 2006, and is among the first operations under the new 2023-2027 agreement between the European Commission and the EIB for financing the private sector in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific.

The impact of this partnership will include the following:
Around 400 small businesses and mid-caps will receive support in the form of financing from Banque Mauritanienne de l’Investissement (BMI), with the support of the EIB and the European Union.
The €20 million EIB loan to BMI will mobilise up to €40 million in financing for Mauritanian businesses, amounting to twice the value of the EIB loan. At least 30% of the EIB financing will go primarily to women and at least 30% to young people.
The portfolio guarantee agreement linked to the EIB loan will focus specifically on startups and businesses managed by or benefiting women and young people.
On 10 July 2023, Banque Mauritanienne de l’Investissement (BMI) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) signed a memorandum of understanding with the support of the European Commission. This will provide for the deployment of €20 million of long-term financing provided by the EIB to BMI for loans to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and mid-caps in Mauritania, with the support of the European Fund for Sustainable Development Plus (EFSD+), and a portfolio guarantee of €3.2 million, financed by the European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD).

This cooperation will help to achieve the EU policy priority of strengthening human development, as established by the European Commission in Mauritania for the 2021-2024 period: “the socio-professional inclusion of young people, equal treatment and equal opportunities, as well as the fight against all forms of discrimination, including gender-based discrimination and discrimination against the most vulnerable.”

At least 30% of the EIB funds will be mobilised by the BMI to help companies that are run by young people or that support youth employment or training. Similarly, at least 30% of the EIB loan will be allocated to enterprises empowering women as entrepreneurs, managers, employees and consumers of products and services that strengthen their participation in the economy, in line with the 2X Challenge (https://www.2xChallenge.org/) initiative. These criteria are aligned with OECD gender objectives, which state that “gender equality is an important objective.”

Furthermore, the EIB will provide BMI with technical assistance to set up climate reporting according to the guidelines of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) (https://www.FSB-TCFD.org/), an international initiative supported by more than 50 central banks, 110 regulators and more than 2 000 financial institutions.

“It is a great honour and a privilege for us to be taking part in the signing ceremony of the financing agreement today between the European Investment Bank (EIB) and Banque Mauritanienne d’Investissement (BMI). On behalf of BMI, I would like to express my gratitude for the signing of a €20 million credit line and a guarantee that will provide €40 million in loans to businesses. The agreement, which is the first of its kind in Mauritania for 15 years, lays the foundations for a mutually beneficial partnership between our two institutions and reinforces our vision of positioning the bank as a major player in the Mauritanian economy. We appreciate the confidence that the EIB has shown in BMI,” said BMI CEO Mohamed Yahya Sidi. “This financing for SMEs, women entrepreneurs and young people comes at just the right time and strengthens our bank’s capacity to support businesses weakened by the recent healthcare crisis. SMEs play an important role in the economic and social landscape, making an effective contribution to creating jobs, thereby helping to reduce inequality and unemployment, as well as helping to eradicate poverty. They are the perfect place for fostering ideas, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit.”

“I am delighted to be signing this finance contract with Banque Mauritanienne de l’Investissement in Nouakchott today, with the support of the European Commission. This is an important partnership, intended to strengthen support for Mauritanian businesses, particularly SMEs, specifically by giving young people and women access to financing. Boosting employment is also a key priority of this partnership,” said EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle. “This is the European Investment Bank’s first partnership with the financial sector in Mauritania since 2006, with which we hope to create a new dynamic with the financial sector to strengthen support for the economy and the prospects for socioeconomic development. In doing so, we are supporting new opportunities for the future, particularly for young people and women.”

His Excellency Gwilym Jones, Ambassador of the European Union to the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, reaffirmed the importance of this cooperation, which consolidates the European Union’s significant support for the country’s development and the improvement of living conditions for its people. The agreement signed today complements the more than €200 million in grants, equivalent to almost MRU 7.6 billion, that the European Union has made available to Mauritania since 2021 alone.

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