SGBL, EIB Sign EUR15 Million Deal to Finance Projects in Lebanon
The Societe Generale de Banque au Liban and the European Investment Bank have signed an agreement for the establishment of a credit line of 15 million euros to partially finance investment projects of Small and Medium Enterprises and Industries in Lebanon.
“This operation is part of chapter III of the plan for financing private sector investments in Lebanon, launched by the EIB in October 2011,” the European bank said in a press release.
“The plan of a total value of 55 million euros, targets the Lebanese SMEs operating in the sectors of industry, tourism, health, education and high technology,” it said.
SGBL’s chief operating officer and deputy general manager, Georges Saghbini, said during the signing ceremony last week that through the agreement the bank reconfirms its commitment to the drivers of the Lebanese economy that are SME/SMIs.
He added that support for the development of the Lebanese economy has always been at the heart of SGBL’s concerns and that the refinancing agreement signed with the EIB is part of this long-term process.
The EIB said that more than 442 million euros have been granted since 2002 to support and develop Lebanese SMEs, more particularly in the key sectors of tourism and industry.
But advocacy group CEE Bankwatch Network has warned that the EIB prefers to create documents that help it hail its own achievements rather than honestly attempting to reform its practices in a way that can really help the SMEs.
The NGO that monitors the activities of international financial institutions has said in a report on the EIB’s ‘global loans’ in central and eastern Europe that the package which was designed to stimulate the SME sector of the countries’ economy appears to have provided greater stimulation to the intermediary banks who were the initial recipients of the funding.