In a historic move, the Fiji Development Bank (FDB) has partnered with the Agence Française de Développement (French Development Agency – AFD) through the issuance of the EURIZ guarantee, also supported by the European Union (EU).
The two organisations today inked the ‘EURIZ loan portfolio guarantee’ agreement that offers a flexible, convenient and attractively priced risk-sharing mechanism to financial institutions to facilitate loan access for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) with high development impacts.
The agreement will allow FDB to expand its MSME/SME financings. The target beneficiaries of this guarantee include MSMEs and SMEs with high developmental impact such as green SMEs, women, youth, health, education, agriculture, digital and social business.
Speaking at the agreement signing, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Strategic Planning, National Development and Statistics, Hon. Professor Biman Prasad said while FDB has the full support of the government, it is pleasing to see the Bank engaging with international partners that would assist in reaching out to more people.
“This historic ceremony is the testimony of the development bank’s commitment to improving its services, creating easily-accessible financial solutions and collaborating with organizations that are on the same wavelength as FDB in terms of service delivery and innovative financial services.”
“I thank the EU and AFD for encouraging such investments in your partner countries. This collaboration will significantly add to FDB’s capacity to lend to MSMEs in Fiji.”
FDB CEO Mr Saud Minam acknowledged AFD and the European Union for this collaboration with the development bank, which is the first of its kind for the South Pacific.
Mr Minam highlighted that the total amount of the guarantee commitment under this agreement is three million euros (EUR 3,000,000), which is equivalent to approximately FJD 7 million.
“This collaboration is a significant boost for our economy providing the much-needed avenue to further support the growth of small businesses,” said CEO Minam.
“We are very excited about this initiative and we are now looking at further expanding our lending facilities for Agriculture, MSMEs and SMEs. As part of this growth strategy, we will be focusing on climate-related projects and promoting gender equality within the business community. We understand the importance of sustainable development and are committed to supporting businesses that prioritize these values. With this collaboration, we hope to empower even more entrepreneurs and create a stronger, environmentally conscious economy,” Mr Minam added.
French Ambassador to Fiji, Mr François-Xavier Léger while speaking at the event, highlighted the agreement marked a beginning of new a partnership between Fiji and France through the two respective organisations (FDB and AFD) in the public development bank sector.
Philippe Orliange, Executive Director for Geographies at AFD travelled from Paris to Suva to witness this signature.
“As public development banks, FDB and AFD have an important role to play in the fight against climate change: channelling public and private finance towards green investments to support mitigation and adaptation from the community level to the regional one,” said Mr Orliange.
“That is what we are doing today – providing support to a fellow public development bank for them to have the means to exercise their public mandate to the benefit of the people of Fiji” he added.
The European Union Ambassador to Fiji and for the Pacific, H.E Sujiro Seam said: “Micro, small and medium enterprises play a crucial role in Fiji’s post-pandemic recovery, and Team Europe (the European Union, its Member States and financial institutions) is pleased to provide the Fiji Development Bank (FDB) the FJD 7 million EURIZ loan portfolio guarantee. This private sector investment from Team Europe, which is in line with the EU’s Global Gateway strategy will boost FDB’s financing tool targeted towards MSMEs and SMEs and encourage increased investment, particularly in climate and agriculture, contributing to the sustainable development needs of Fiji.”
The French Development Agency (Agence Française de Développement – AFD), deeply rooted in the Pacific for the past 75 years, is the French public agency that deploys France’s official development assistance through loans, grants and expertise. The agency supports Pacific Islands Countries and Territories, among which French territories, in the implementation of their ecological, economic and social transitions.
Created in 2018, the Pacific Regional Office targets as a priority the challenges of climate change and biodiversity conservation, through regional or bilateral projects.
More information on https://www.afd.fr/en/regional-office/pacific-ocean