The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has granted a USD 200 mn (EGP 3.24 bn) financing package to the National Bank of Egypt (NBE) for trade and on-lending to local Coronavirus-hit companies, Invest-Gate reports.

Merely USD 100 mn (EGP 1.62 bn) of the facility will be directed for the provision of short-term loans to private small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in a bid to cope with performance and liquidity shocks due to the COVID-19 hit, the international financial institution said in a press release on June 22.

Besides, the UK-based bank will also raise an existing uncommitted trade finance limit for the state-run lender by the remaining USD 100 mn to USD 300 mn (EGP 4.85 bn), under the EBRD’s Trade Facilitation Program, coming to meet the growing demand for import and export transactions during the current emergency situation.

EBRD First Vice President Jurgen Rigterink said, “We are very happy to partner again with NBE to provide financing to local small businesses, the backbone of the economy. Strengthening this segment of the Egyptian economy has never been more important than during this crisis.”

Likewise, EBRD has agreed to provide USD 100 mn in financing to the Commercial International Bank (CIB) to provide private SMEs and corporations with short-term loans to ease strains and “help mitigate the impact of the pandemic through its partner banks,” according to a separate statement.

“It is crucial to support the real economy during these unprecedented times with the provision of funds through well-functioning channels. Ensuring a continuous flow of financing to local enterprises will help overcome this crisis and ensure the recovery of businesses and the country,” Rigterink was quoted as saying.

Egypt is a founding member of the EBRD. Since the inception of joint operations in 2012, the UK-based bank has pumped almost EUR 6.5 bn (EGP 118.3 bn) into 115 projects nationwide.