The African Development Bank (AfDB) has approved a loan of €8mn to finance a line of credit to Tunisie Leasing (TL), a leading finance company in the country.

This line of credit is aimed at financing small enterprises through small-scale leases of Td20,000 to Td300,000 maximum. It supports the government’s SME-promotion policy, which seeks to create 2,500 new enterprises per annum in the period 2001-06.

Tunisie Leasing will use the line of credit to finance the procurement of equipment and immovable assets for leasing to SMEs operating in commercial, industrial, agricultural, fisheries and service sectors. TL will sign fixed-term contracts with the lessees, in return for a lease payment. The lessees will have the option to buy at the end of the lease contract, all or part of the leased assets at an agreed price.

The line of credit to TL is a contribution to the deepening of financial intermediation to the benefit of small enterprises, which continue to be confronted with the problem of access to financing owing to constraints such as guarantees, the level of equity contribution and the high cost of small credit operations. In Tunisia, the bank’s intervention in the financial sector aims to strengthen financial intermediation and to diversify the available services, in order to improve SMEs access to finance.

The bank group’s operations in Tunisia started in 1968. To date, it has committed US$3.739bn in 72 operations with disbursements of US$2.40bn. Tunisie Leasing is the first operation of the bank in the area of leasing and the third private sector project in Tunisia, after financial intermediation operations with Amen Bank and la Banque de Tunisie both approved in 2002.