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- European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE) celebrates tenth anniversary - Loans issued to partner institutions total EUR 1.8 billion - Over 500,000 jobs created or safeguarded
The European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE) celebrated its tenth anniversary today within the scope of its annual conference in Berlin (entitled "Balancing The Future"). Since it was founded in 2005, the fund has allocated more than EUR 1.8 billion to local partner banks located in 16 countries in Southeast Europe, Eastern Europe and the Caucasus. These partner institutions have then used this long-term provision of funds to grant loans - often repeatedly - to small and medium-sized enterprises and low-income households. Overall, the fund has provided more than 660,000 individual loans since its inception, with a total volume of around EUR 4.7 billion.
The EFSE was established by KfW with support from the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and other public-sector donors. It has to this day significantly improved access to long-term financing for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in the region. These loans have enabled some 500,000 jobs to be created or safeguarded in a region that stretches from the Western Balkans through Ukraine to Armenia.
Dr Norbert Kloppenburg, Member of the Executive Board of KfW Group, praised the fund's work. "Over the last ten years, the EFSE has proved an important instrument in the expansion of small and medium-sized enterprises. This in turn has made an effective contribution to the stabilisation of the region. The companies in receipt of funding are a powerful driver of economic development and the prosperity of the population of the target countries."
The EFSE, which is registered in Luxembourg, is one of the world's largest microfinance funds. It is based on a public-private partnership that involves not only the public sector and private institutional investors, but international financial institutions and promotional banks as well.
Its above-average performance has received widespread recognition, including at the G20 summit held in Seoul in November 2010, where the EFSE won first prize in the "G20 SME Finance Challenge". The prize was awarded by US President Barack Obama.