February 17, 2022— U.S. Ambassador Donald Blome joined the CEO of the Arab Tunisian Bank (ATB), Ahmed Rejiba, to launch a $35 million loan program to increase access to finance for Tunisian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the country. The program will expand and accelerate commercial lending to SMEs, which is critical to the success of Tunisian small businesses. The Development Finance Corporation (DFC) and USAID's partnership with ATB will expand lending to regions and borrowers that do not typically have access to bank loans.
The U.S. government is committed to the success of Tunisian small businesses, the expansion of inclusive economic opportunities, and the creation of jobs from the private sector. Commercial financing is critical to the success of Tunisian small businesses, and USAID’s partnership with ATB and the DFC will expand lending to borrowers that do not typically have access to bank loans. To date, the U.S. government through USAID has helped about 30,000 small businesses to increase sales and exports to 1.5 billion TND, access about 500 million TND in new loans, and create more than 40,000 new jobs.
"With a focus on underserved regions, this initiative will facilitate $35 million in loans from ATB to small businesses throughout Tunisia at a time when the country is facing a challenging economic situation. This partnership showcases how the U.S. government is able to mobilize private capital resources for the direct benefit of small businesses and demonstrates our strong commitment to the growth and success of Tunisia's private sector," said U.S. Ambassador Blome.
The mission of ATB is to contribute to the economic and financial development of Tunisia by offering diversified and quality services. ATB has a network of 134 branches and employs more than 1,400 people. ATB developed a new commercial strategy, invested in human capital and client outreach, and implemented a rigorous process to expand and diversify its portfolio of clients. The SME market is an area of growth, and ATB partnered with the DFC and USAID to expand lending to SMEs nationwide. The DFC is also committed to increasing access to finance for SMEs across Tunisia and in underserved regions.
“The DFC and USAID loan program for SMEs strengthens ATB's capacity to lend to SMEs, enabling us to increase our support for Tunisian small businesses and effectively contribute to the country's inclusive economic growth,” said Mr. Rejiba, CEO of ATB.