News from the North Caucasus MSME Development Initiative
EU Delegation Visited North Ossetia and the North Caucasus MSME Development Initiative
Vladikavkas, 8 April 2011 - In the week of April 5 – 8, a European Union delegation visited North Ossetia to familiarize themselves with the work of the Center of Assistance to Small Businesses and Schools of Cross-cultural Interaction in North Ossetia, and to discuss how the EU can increase their efforts to promote the sustainable development of the North Caucasus. Ambassador Fernando M. Valenzuela and Stephen Stenberg, Director of European Commission Directorate for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection, arrived in Vladikavkaz on April 5 to begin their four-day visit to the North Caucasus during which they visited the North Caucasus MSME Development Initiative and one of the Partner Banks, VTB24.
The delegation met with regional authorities as well as with several partners of EU funded projects in the region. During meeting with representatives of regional governments and international organizations, visiting projects and exchanging views with members of non-governmental organizations, the officials of the EU assessed the current involvement of the EU in the region and explored opportunities for future collaboration.
One of the participating banks under the EU EBRD North Caucasus MSME Development Initiative, an EU supported programme of technical assistance and credit lines for banks and non-bank financial institutions in North Caucasus is VTB 24. In the course of the EU Delegation visit, a press conference was held in the Vladikavkaz branch of VTB 24.
During the press conference, the head of the EBRD in the South and North Caucasus Federal Districts, Dmitry Larionov, spoke about the joint project of the EBRD and VTB24 targeted at the development of MSME development in North Caucasus. He highlighted the major contribution of LFS Consulting Systems GmbH, which is assisting VTB 24 in implementing lending to micro small and medium enterprises (MSME’s) under the EU-EBRD MSME Development Initiative.
The Director of the Credit Department of VTB24, Alexander Gerasimov, proudly presented the results of VTB 24 in the North Caucasus during the press conference:
"In 2010, Bank VTB 24 has provided a total of 895 loans to small businesses of the North Caucasus Federal District, amounting to 614 million rubles. The volume of lending in the first quarter of 2011 totaled 333 million rubles, which amounts to 5 times more than in the same period of 2010. "Small Business Lending in North Ossetia and Kabardino-Balkaria is dynamic - said Alexander Gerasimov. - The combined loan portfolio of small business in VTB24 Nalchik and Vladikavkaz has increased 4,7 times in comparison with 2010 and totaled over 151 million rubles in the first quarter of this year. We predict that small businesses in the North Caucasus will continue to evolve rapidly, followed by recovery.”
The press conference was also attended by Oleg Guluev, Regional Head of the Vladikavkaz VTB24 branch, who mentioned his satisfaction with the development of small business lending in Vladikavkaz: "VTB 24 started its activities in North Ossetia just 2 years ago - says Oleg Guluev - the results are positive.”