FMO is pleased to announce the signing of a NASIRA loan portfolio guarantee facility with Bank al Etihad. This USD 30 million in JOD equivalent NASIRA facility supports COVID-19 affected Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), including female and young entrepreneurs in Jordan.
The NASIRA guarantee program is co-funded by the European Union as part of its Team Europe package, a robust and targeted EU response to support partner countries’ efforts in tackling the coronavirus pandemic. In supporting the NASIRA guarantee program, the EU aims to address the needs of entrepreneurs, especially SMEs, to help them survive during and after this pandemic.
Bank al Etihad is dedicated to serving the underbanked SME segment in Jordan, including women-led businesses, young entrepreneurs, and start-ups. The COVID-19 crisis has hit SMEs hard in Jordan. In response, Bank al Etihad launched tailor-made financial services, such as the COVID-19 relief fund, to support entrepreneurs in continuing their business. Additionally, non-financial services are provided in the form of digital capacity-building workshops to strengthen SMEs’ resilience during these difficult circumstances.
To support and strengthen Bank al Etihad’s efforts to address the needs of SMEs, FMO will provide a NASIRA loan portfolio guarantee covering loans provided to SMEs affected by the COVID-19 crisis, including female and young entrepreneurs. The underlying loans will be used for income-generating activities.
The NASIRA loan portfolio guarantee will be complemented with a tailor-made Capacity Development project aimed at supporting Bank al Etihad’s offering to entrepreneurs. This facility is also funded by the EU. The technical assistance will help in strengthening the Bank’s internal capacities to effectively provide financial and non-financial services and develop new and improved products for the target groups.
H.E. Maria Hadjitheodosiou, EU Ambassador in Jordan, stressed the importance of helping SMEs survive during COVID-19 adding “Team Europe aims, among other areas, to mitigate the socio-economic impact of the pandemic in our partner countries and help address the challenges faced by entrepreneurs. We are pleased to join forces together with FMO and Bank Al Etihad to tackle financial needs for Jordanian Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in supporting the to stay afloat, to stay competitive or to scale-up in the post-pandemic recovery phase.”
Linda Broekhuizen, CEO (a.i.) of FMO, said: “We are very pleased to be able to work together with Bank al Etihad on standing by COVID-19 affected entrepreneurs in Jordan, a country that faced economic and social challenges even before the pandemic. We are looking forward to the start of this new partnership.’’
Nadia Al Saeed, CEO of Bank al Etihad, said: “We are excited to sign with FMO on the loan portfolio guarantee facility under its NASIRA program. We hope to use this partnership to continue to provide SMEs, young entrepreneurs and women-led businesses with more breathing space to adapt to the global pandemic and its economic repercussions.” Al Saeed added, “SMEs are the backbone of our economy; they create jobs and work on revolutionary technologies that support the country. We view this partnership as a way for Bank al Etihad to cater to SMEs through financial and non-financial services.”
In April 2020, the NASIRA program received a €25 million top-up from the European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD) on the EU’s initial €75 million contribution to support migrant, female and young entrepreneurs and MSMEs affected by COVID-19, in the EU Neighbourhood and Africa. The Dutch government fund, MASSIF, also provided €7.5 million to NASIRA. The EFSD is an integrated financial package that supports investments in Africa and the EU's neighbouring countries to help achieve the sustainable development goals laid down in the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
About Bank al Etihad
Bank al Etihad is a Jordanian banking and financial institution. Established in 1978, the bank operates with family and human values at its core. Bank al Etihad focuses on their customers’ satisfaction- whether they are individuals, entrepreneurs, companies, and women- they are at the forefront of their priorities. The bank believes that empowering its community can only be achieved by investing in digital transformation. Through this, clients can access products and services and control their money wherever they are and at any time. As a result of its efforts, It has been chosen as the "Best Digital Bank" in Jordan, and the "Most Innovative Digital Bank" in Jordan and the Middle East, by New York International Magazine "Global Finance" in 2020.
Social responsibility is an integral part of the bank's culture and environment, and its key members include customers, employees, shareholders and all members of its community. The Bank has identified its social responsibility pillars that are in line with its strategy and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Bank al Etihad was able to achieve growth and become the third largest bank in Jordan by assets. It offers a growing network of 53 branches and 125 ATMs that are spread across the Kingdom. The bank also owns a central exchange unit, a financial brokerage company (Al-Etihad Brokerage), and a financial leasing company (Al-Etihad Financial Leasing). It is a member and a strategic partner of the Board of Directors of the National Bank in Palestine. It also owns 36% of the shares in Safwa Islamic Bank.
NASIRA is an innovative financial program that supports young, female, and migrant entrepreneurs in Sub-Saharan Africa and countries neighboring Europe. As of April 2020, the scope is widened to also reach small COVID-19 affected entrepreneurs in the same regions. NASIRA uses guarantees to allow local banks to on-lend to underserved entrepreneurs. The goal is to allow local banks to provide loans to groups they normally perceive as too risky. By so-called ‘risk-sharing’ NASIRA reduces the perceived and real risks of lending to vulnerable and underserved parts of the population. The NASIRA guarantee is part of the EU External Investment Plan, which, by investing €4.6 billion in EU funds, is set to leverage an additional €47 billion in total investment from the public and private sector. It will enable small business owners to access affordable loans through local banks, microfinance institutions and other non-banking financial institutions. For more information, please visit: http://www.nasira.info/