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Under its new branch EIB Global, the European Investment Bank (EIB), the bank of European Union, has signed a €20 million loan with Intesa Sanpaolo Banka BiH aiming to foster youth employment, gender equality and socially inclusive practices among SMEs and mid-caps. These funds will enable Intesa Sanpaolo BiH to on-lend to local companies that are committed to improving the social impact of their businesses and creating long-term leadership and employment opportunities for women, young people and segments of the population that face higher entry barriers in the labour market.

This innovative loan includes a performance-based reward mechanism for companies that meet specific targets to foster leadership, employment and professional development opportunities for women, young people and vulnerable groups (e.g. people with disabilities, refugees, etc.). Under this incentive scheme, tailor-made social impact objectives will be agreed with each company benefiting from the EIB financing and a financial reward commensurate with the level of social impact generated will be distributed to those who meet such targets.

On this occasion, the EIB Vice-President responsible for the Western Balkans, Lilyana Pavlova, said: “This new financing provides further proof of the EIB’senduring support for the country’s economic recovery and sustainable growth on the path to EU integration. We are delighted to once again join forces with our long-term partner Intesa Sanpaolo Banka to not only increase access to finance for SMEs and mid-caps in BiH, but to do so whilst boosting leadership and quality employment opportunities for women, young people and vulnerable groups. Under Team Europe and our new EIB Global branch, the EIB looks forward to enabling economic transformation for a more inclusive, green and sustainable future.”

Marco Elio Rottigni, Chief of Intesa Sanpaolo’s International Subsidiary Banks Division, commented: “Our group aspires to be the world’s leading bank in terms of social impact. As such, we are active in providing tangible social contributions to communities in terms of social inclusion, as well as the green transition, culture, education and innovation.Thanks to our broad and long-standing cooperation with the European Investment Bank, we are pleased to be the first in the country to offer this kind of funding through our subsidiary Intesa Sanpaolo Banka Bosnia and Herzegovina”.

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Marco Trevisan, CEO of Intesa Sanpaolo Banka BiH, said: “It is a great pleasure to continue our cooperation with EIB. We are signing today a ground-breaking credit line which will enable social inclusion for local SMEs, Mid-Caps and social enterprises. Our bank will be the very first in Bosnia Herzegovina to introduce this new mechanism to support the needs of our clients, and we are sure that they will widely benefit from it”.

The reward mechanism will be financed via a €3.3 million grant provided under the EIB’s Economic Resilience Initiative (ERI) Fund, aimed at boosting job creation and sustainable and inclusive private sector growth. A comprehensive technical assistance programme will be created to support the project’s implementation and the achievement of the social impact objectives agreed with SMEs and mid-caps in BiH.

This will be the sixth cooperation of the EIB and Intesa Sanpaolo BiH in support of the private sector in BiH which has resulted in the disbursement of over €238 million and provided support to 339 companies so far. To date, the EIB has provided €860 million to the private sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which has helped sustain close to 100 000 jobs.

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