European Investment Bank Expands Presence in Mauritania through Collaboration with BMI to Support SMEs and Mid-Caps

European Investment Bank Expands Presence in Mauritania through Collaboration with BMI to Support SMEs and Mid-Caps

(IN BRIEF) Banque Mauritanienne de l’Investissement (BMI) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) have signed a memorandum of understanding to provide support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and mid-caps in Mauritania. The partnership, under the new 2023-2027 agreement between the European Commission and the EIB, includes a €20 million loan from the EIB to BMI, mobilizing up to €40 million in financing for Mauritanian businesses. At least 30% of the EIB financing will target women and young entrepreneurs. The collaboration aims to strengthen human development, promote equal opportunities, and combat discrimination. Additionally, the EIB will provide BMI with technical assistance to implement climate reporting standards.

(PRESS RELEASE) LUXEMBOURG, 11-Jul-2023 — /EuropaWire/ — The European Investment Bank (EIB), the lending arm of the European Union and Banque Mauritanienne de l’Investissement (BMI) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to bolster the Mauritanian financial sector and support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and mid-caps. This collaboration marks the first joint effort between the EIB and the Mauritanian financial sector since 2006 and represents one of the initial 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 key impacts of this partnership include:

  1. Support for Approximately 400 Businesses: BMI will provide financing to around 400 small businesses and mid-caps with the support of the EIB and the European Union.
  2. Mobilization of €40 Million: The €20 million loan from the EIB to BMI will leverage up to €40 million in financing for Mauritanian businesses, which is twice the value of the EIB loan. Notably, at least 30% of the EIB financing will primarily benefit women, and an additional 30% will target young entrepreneurs.
  3. Focus on Startups and Businesses Led by Women and Young People: The portfolio guarantee agreement associated with the EIB loan will specifically target startups and businesses managed by or benefiting women and young people.

The signing of the MoU between BMI and the EIB took place on July 10, 2023, with the support of the European Commission. The agreement enables the deployment of €20 million in long-term financing from the EIB to BMI, facilitating loans to SMEs and mid-caps in Mauritania. The initiative is supported by the European Fund for Sustainable Development Plus (EFSD+), along with a portfolio guarantee of €3.2 million financed by the European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD).

This collaboration aligns with the EU’s policy priority of strengthening human development, as outlined by the European Commission in Mauritania for the 2021-2024 period. It emphasizes the socio-professional inclusion of young people, equal treatment and opportunities, and the fight against all forms of discrimination, including gender-based discrimination and discrimination against vulnerable groups.

At least 30% of the EIB funds will be channeled by BMI to support companies led by young people or those promoting youth employment and training. Similarly, at least 30% of the EIB loan will be allocated to enterprises empowering women as entrepreneurs, managers, employees, and consumers, fostering their active participation in the economy. These criteria align with the objectives of the 2X Challenge initiative and OECD gender objectives, highlighting the importance of gender equality.

Additionally, the EIB will provide BMI with technical assistance to establish climate reporting according to the guidelines of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). This international initiative, backed by over 50 central banks, 110 regulators, and more than 2,000 financial institutions, aims to enhance climate-related financial transparency.

“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 JonesAmbassador 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.

Background information

About the European Investment Bank

The EIB has been a strong partner of African countries for more than 55 years. Through EIB Global, the bank is strengthening its presence in Africa. Over the past decade, the EIB has provided more than €28 billion for investment in innovative technologies, green energy, water, education, agriculture, telecommunications, healthcare, and businesses in 40 countries across the continent.. Since the start of the pandemic in 2019-2020 alone, the EIB has provided more than €8.5 billion for new private and public investment across Africa.

EIB Global is the EIB Group’s specialised arm devoted to increasing the impact of international partnerships and development finance.. EIB Global is designed to foster a strong, focused partnership within Team Europe, alongside fellow development finance institutions and civil society. EIB Global brings the Group closer to local people, companies and institutions through our offices across the world.

About Banque Mauritanienne de l’Investissement

Banque Mauritanienne de l’Investissement (BMI) operates in the Mauritanian banking sector, providing solid overall performance. BMI is one of Mauritania’s most dynamic commercial banks. It has grown rapidly while maintaining solid asset quality, and now ranks among the country’s five largest banks, both in terms of balance sheet and network, with 39 branches across the country, including 16 branches in the capital Nouakchott, a network of 200 partner companies selling BMI products, and a workforce of 388 employees. In 2022, BMI launched the Sedad digital bank, designed to give businesses and private customers easier access to banking services. BMI offers its private and business customers a wide range of accessible and practical banking products and services perfectly tailored to their needs, including day-to-day banking transactions, and financing for operating and investment requirements, and for international trade.

BMI offers its customers innovative, simple, transparent and responsible banking solutions.

About the European Union’s priorities in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania

The European Union has been active in Mauritania for 50 years. Alongside the EU Member States (Team Europe), it works to promote socioeconomic development in the country, with a focus on healthcare, education, technical and vocational training, the environment, energy, and support for the private sector, particularly the fishing, agriculture and livestock farming sectors. It is also supporting the country in the field of governance, working to modernise public administration, in addition to its involvement in the fields of security, stability, and migration management. As part of the 2021-2024 programme, a budget of €125 million has been made available to work towards the following priorities: (1) human development, (2) transition to green and blue economies, and (3) governance. The European Union’s work in Mauritania is part of the Global Gateway initiative, which aims to develop sustainable and reliable connections for the benefit of people and the planet.

Media contacts:

Anne-Cécile Auguin
+352 4379 – 83330

Isabelle Vovor
+352 4379 – 70104

Press Office
+352 4379 – 21000

SOURCE: European Investment Bank



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