Rome, May 10 (IANS/AKI) Italy’s Finance Ministry is investing six million euros in European Bank for Reconstruction and Development projects to promote economic inclusion in the southern and eastern Mediterranean region, the EBRD announced on Wednesday.
The Italian contribution is centred on supporting youth employment and the development of small and medium-sized enterprises, the bank said.
Italy will help implement the EBRD programme by making available up to two million euros in technical assistance and up to four million in grants for co-investment, according to the EBRD.
Part of Italy’s financial contribution will be channelled through the EBRD Small Business Impact Fund, whose donors also include Japan, South Korea, Luxembourg, Sweden, Switzerland, Taipei China and the US.
The Small Business Impact Fund helps to finance investments, and advisory and policy dialogue activities focusing on SMEs, the EBRD said.
A grant agreement was signed at the bank’s 2018 Annual Meeting in Jordan on Wednesday in the presence of EBRD Alternate Governor for Italy, Gelsomina Vigliotti, its Vice President for Policy and Partnerships, Pierre Heilbronn, and its Managing Director for SME Finance, Claudio Viezzoli.
The EBRD is currently developing a southern and eastern Mediterranean region youth employment programme, to be piloted in Egypt this year and then rolled out in the rest of the region, the bank said.
The programme will aim to address some of the problems faced by employers and young job-seekers in the small private business sector and will promote quality, work-based learning opportunities as a route towards employment for young people, according to the EBRD.
Besies specific projects to build the capacity of local SMEs to recruit more effectively and retain skilled young people, the programme will also provide EBRD direct investment and risk-sharing support for SMEs that have the potential to offer employment to young job-seekers.
Italy is a founding member of the EBRD and is among the major contributors to the bank’s technical cooperation funds and investment co-financing funds, with 133 million euros provided since 1992.