- Through its network of banks in Croatia, Albania, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia, the Intesa Sanpaolo Group intends to grant loans amounting to a billion euros to small and medium enterprises in the Western Balkans involved in the incentive - stated Ignacio Jaquotot, Head of the International Subsidiary Banks Division within the Intesa Sanpaolo Group, during the international conference "Support to local enterprises and small and medium enterprises with the Chinese initiative "One Belt - One Road in the Southeast Europe" organized by the Central European Initiative (CEI) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
The program of the "One Belt - One Road" ("The New Silk Road") initiative is a real opportunity for the development of the Balkan countries which are vivid examples of the western entry to the New Silk Road considering the program's focus on the improvement of the infrastructural gap toward the West through significant investments whose worth is estimated to be about 11 billion USD, and which are planned for the coming decades.
The great influx of direct foreign investments (DFI) into the Balkans will influence the growth rate of the countries receiving the investments and, especially, the local network of small and medium enterprises, which comprise 99% of the enterprises in the region and employ 60% of the workforce. It has thereby been estimated that those enterprises will get the opportunity to sign subcontracts worth a significant percentage of the project's value, contributing primarily to the development of the building material production sector, logistics, facility engineering, and, in general, the services related to interconnecting.
- The loans, which will mostly be mid-term and long-term and leasing contracts, to the client enterprises in the Intesa Sanpaolo Group in the West Balkans will be worth up to 15 mil EUR with the loan repayment deadline of no more than 10 years in general - added Jaquotot, and "will be used to finance buying facilities, machinery, equipment or vehicles, and for buying, building, expanding and reconstruction of industrial facilities and investments in the non-material property for the infrastructural projects of the One Belt - One Road initiative, including research, development and innovation expenses".