The World Bank and the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development (HBOR) on Friday signed a EUR 200m Loan Agreement for the HEAL Croatia (Enterprise Assistance to Achieve Liquidity) Project, intended as support for businesses affected by the corona crisis and 2020 earthquakes
A press release issued by the WB and HBOR reads that “the COVID-19 crisis has caused a significant decline in the economic activity of Croatian businesses and has had a profound effect on jobs and livelihoods”.
“The pandemic stopped production of companies and reduced demand for their goods and services, while the financial sector tightened lending to companies, due to increased credit risk. The crisis also exacerbated Croatia’s regional disparities and reduced credit access to start-ups, but also to women-owned and managed firms. “
The HEAL Croatia Scheme “will provide liquidity and financial restructuring to firms hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and two devastating 2020 earthquakes and will support a comprehensive and resilient recovery. ”
The HEAL project will increase access to finance for export-focused firms, such as small and medium-sized enterprises (firms employing less than 250 people) and medium-sized firms (employing from 250 to 3,000 people), as well as for firms from the less developed regions of Croatia and firms owned or managed by women. It will also increase access for start-ups (operating less than five years).
HBOR board chairwoman Tamara Perko was quoted as saying that the Croatian development bank was “pleased” that the World Bank has recognized the importance of financing entrepreneurial groups, whose importance is also recognized in the five-year strategy of the HBOR. “
Elisabetta Capannelli, World Bank Country Manager for Croatia, was quoted as saying that the World Bank hoped “for a speedy implementation of the HEAL Croatia project which will help preserve jobs and support families’ livelihoods” through direct support for some 150 firms employing around 25,000 people. ”
Finance Minister Zdravko Maric, who signed a loan guarantee agreement with the World Bank, said that “the loan signed today represents a continuation of the considerable support provided by the World Bank to the Republic of Croatia since the start of the crisis in 2020.” which is reflected in operations with a total value of EUR 760 million (including HEAL). ”
“With this project, we are contributing to the further recovery of the Croatian private sector, following the existing measures of the Government of the Republic of Croatia adopted in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, post-earthquake reconstruction and laying the foundations for future sustainability and sustainability. ”
The World Bank has been a partner of Croatia for more than 27 years and during that period the bank has supported more than 50 projects, worth nearly $ 5 billion, and provided technical assistance to help strengthen institutions and support the design of policies and strategies.