Investment from European Union has been expanded to include Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt
Europe's development bank announced its first investments in Morocco, Jordan
and Tunisia on Tuesday and said it was preparing to invest up to €200m
(US$262m) by the end of the year in the region.
Set up in 1991 to aid the transition of ex-Soviet bloc countries of eastern
Europe, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) expanded
its mandate to invest in Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt.
The move followed the "Arab Spring", which saw decades-old
dictatorships unseated in the latter two countries before moving on to Libya.
The EBRD said the three projects were the first in a series of planned
investments for the region, which will be ramped up to €2.5bn a year by 2015.
Its investments in eastern Europe have helped drive growth and structural
change across a range of sectors in central European and ex-Soviet economies
The new projects include a US$30m trade finance line for Jordan's InvestBank
and a €20m commitment to the Maghreb Private Equity Fund III, sponsored by a
Tunisian-Moroccan private equity firm.
Another €20m will be provided to Morocco's Société Générale Marocaine de Banques
(SGMB). SGMB is also to received a €5m trade finance facility from the
All the investments are aimed at helping small businesses in the countries
access funding via loans or private equity investments, the EBRD said.
The EBRD soon hopes to get approval from shareholders for investments in
Egypt. It said another key project on its agenda was a US$100m investment for a power plant near Jordan's capital city Amman to ease the country's
The bank plans to focus its investments in North Africa and Jordan in the
financial sector, providing financing to small businesses; in energy efficiency
projects, municipal services such as water treatment and infrastructure.
It said it had opened offices in all four countries.