CEB supports micro-businesses in Bosnia and Herzegovina

CEB supports micro-businesses in Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) approved a € 2 million loan to MI-BOSPO Microcredit Foundation to provide funds to micro-enterprises for the partial financing of their productive investments.

The microfinance sector in Bosnia and Herzegovina developed rapidly after the 1991-1995 war but suffered from the 2008 global financial crisis, which made it difficult for micro-borrowers to repay their loans and caused lending activity to decline. Today, micro-businesses remain an important source of employment in a country where unemployment is stubbornly high at 37%.

Moreover, there is a gender imbalance in Bosnia and Herzegovina’s labor force, as women make up more than 60% of the inactive population and those who are in employment represent only about one-third of the labor force. This is due to a combination of factors, including the lack of financial resources for self-employment.

The loan provided by the CEB aims to tackle these issues by supporting micro- and small businesses, with a special emphasis on those run by women. Through MI-BOSPO, the CEB will channel funds to entrepreneurs who wish to start their own business but have difficulty accessing bank financing, such as women, who represent more than two-thirds of MI-BOSPO’s clients, low-income individuals and households, and farmers.

CEB Governor Rolf Wenzel said: “Access to employment and financial inclusion are hugely important for sustainable growth and social coherence. The CEB is very much aware of this, which is why in recent years we have redoubled our efforts to help create jobs in our member countries. Through our partnership with MI-BOSPO we aim to channel financing to a large number of entrepreneurs across Bosnia and Herzegovina, particularly to disadvantaged groups. We are pleased that the funds are specifically targeting women business-owners because we believe that women have an important role to play in the economy of Bosnia and Herzegovina.”

Original source: CEB
Published on 1 October 2018