The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), an international development institution operating across three continents, and Visa, the global leader in digital payments, have announced a strategic partnership that aims to jointly support small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the economies where the EBRD operates.
In a Memorandum of Understanding signed today, the partners initially commit to focus on women entrepreneurs, supporting their financial inclusion and further digital enablement. The agreement details cooperation in the following areas:
(a) financing of SMEs
(b) development of digital solutions, including cashless payments, for SME and tourist operators piloted in Uzbekistan
(c) specialised financial literacy training for small businesses
(d) joint support of SMEs affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Demetrios Marantis, Senior Vice President, Global Government Engagement, Visa said: “The global economy is moving to online faster than ever, with the Covid-19 pandemic transforming commerce around the world. Visa is committed to supporting small businesses with their recovery efforts as well as enabling secure and seamless digital payments that benefit both merchants and consumers. By partnering with the EBRD and focusing on financial inclusion and women’s entrepreneurship, we believe that our organisations can advance towards our common goal of more resilient and sustainable economic development.”
Alan Rousso, EBRD Managing Director, External Relations and Partnerships, said: “The world has been badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic and it is very important that leading international financial players like Visa and the EBRD team up to help those affected the most. Both institutions will bring in their vast experience to support SMEs, especially those managed by women, to provide access to finance, training and technologies, which will help them continue their activity despite adverse macroeconomic conditions.”
Future areas of cooperation between the parties may include projects related to smart and green city initiatives, digitalisation and the promotion of innovation across various sectors.