EU signs Greek loan deal

EIF Chief Executive Pier Luigi Gilibert. (Reuters)
Updated 16 April 2018

EU signs Greek loan deal

  • EIF CEO Pier Luigi Gilibert: “Our exposure to Greece is now about €1 billion.”
  • Gilibert said the EIF supports innovative companies active in sectors including artificial intelligence, fintech and big data.

Athens: The European Investment Fund (EIF) on Monday signed three loan guarantee agreements with Greece’s National Bank (NBG) worth €640 million ($791.04 million) to provide funding to small and medium-sized businesses to support the Greek economy’s recovery.
The EIF is part of the European Investment Bank (EIB) group which aims to support Europe’s micro, small and medium-sized businesses by helping them to access finance.
“Our exposure to Greece is now about €1 billion,” said EIF CEO Pier Luigi Gilibert. “This has successfully catalyzed €3.5 billion in additional funding.” Greece, slowly emerging from a deep financial crisis, is expected to exit its third international bailout in August. Its economy is gradually recovering. Gross domestic product grew 1.4 percent last year.
Gilibert said the EIF supports innovative companies active in sectors including artificial intelligence, fintech and big data. Its loan guarantees are risk sharing instruments, enabling banks on the ground to choose eligible firms.
Under the so-called InnovFin agreement, NBG will provide loans at favorable terms to innovative SMEs for two years. The EIF’s support for innovative Greek companies is expected to generate a portfolio of €100 million of loans.
The second agreement, COSME, will allow NBG to provide €500 million of loans to around 1,900 small businesses in Greece over three years. EaSI microfinance guarantee, the third facility, will provide
€40 million of loans to 3,400 micro-borrowers, very small companies which have difficulties in accessing credit across the country.
“With today’s financing agreements, the Juncker Plan continues to support Greek companies tangibly and help them grow,” said EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos.

Saudi Arabia has lion’s share of regional philanthropy

Updated 27 April 2018

Saudi Arabia has lion’s share of regional philanthropy

  • Kingdom is home to three quarters of region's foundations
  • Combined asets of global foundations is $1.5 trillion

Nearly three quarters of philanthropic foundations in the Middle East are concentrated in Saudi Arabia, according to a new report.

The study, conducted by researchers at Harvard Kennedy School’s Hauser Institute with funding from Swiss bank UBS, also found that resources were highly concentrated in certain areas with education the most popular area for investment globally.

That trend was best illustrated in the Kingdom, where education ranked first among the target areas of local foundations.

While the combined assets of the world’s foundations are estimated at close to $1.5 trillion, half have no paid staff and small budgets of under $1 million. In fact, 90 percent of identified foundations have assets of less than $10 million, according to the Global Philanthropy Report. 

Developed over three years with inputs from twenty research teams across nineteen countries and Hong Kong, the report highlights the magnitude of global philanthropic investment.

A rapidly growing number of philanthropists are establishing foundations and institutions to focus, practice, and amplify these investments, said the report.

In recent years, philanthropy has witnessed a major shift. Wealthy individuals, families, and corporations are looking to give more, to give more strategically, and to increase the impact of their social investments.

Organizations such as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have become increasingly high profile — but at the same time, some governments, including India and China, have sought to limit the spread of cross-border philanthropy in certain sectors.

As the world is falling well short of raising the $ 5-7 trillion of annual investment needed to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, UBS sees the report findings as a call for philanthropists to work together to scale their impact.

Understanding this need for collaboration, UBS has established a global community where philanthropists can work together to drive sustainable impact.

Established in 2015 and with over 400 members, the Global Philanthropists Community hosted by UBS is the world’s largest private network exclusively for philanthropists and social investors, facilitating collaboration and sharing of best practices.

Josef Stadler, head of ultra high net worth wealth, UBS Global Management, said: “This report takes a much-needed step toward understanding global philanthropy so that, collectively, we might shape a more strategic and collaborative future, with philanthropists leading the way toward solving the great challenges of our time.”

This week Saudi Arabia said it would provide an additional $100 million of humanitarian aid in Syria, through the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center.

The UAE also this week said it had contributed $192 million to a housing project in Afghanistan through the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development.