SANAD, a German fund for small and medium enterprises in the MENA region signed Tuesday a $20 million loan facility with Bank Audi aimed at expanding lending to small businesses  in Lebanon.
Initiated by the German Development Bank in August 2011 and funded by the German government and the European Union, SANAD provides medium- and long-term debt guarantees to financial institutions that work with SMEs.
“Our two institutions embody a strong regional perspective, which makes a partnership between SANAD and Bank Audi a natural fit,” said Wolfgang Reuss, chairman of SANAD.
“Supporting SMEs is crucial in Lebanon, where a vibrant private sector remains critical to future economic growth and greater employment opportunities,” he added.
Marc Audi, general manager of Bank Audi , said he sees SMEs as a key area for growth both for the bank and the Lebanese economy.
“Such confidence makes us even more determined to maintain our leading role in servicing [the Lebanese economy]. This facility will help create economic opportunities for Lebanese SMEs and the Lebanese economy as a whole,” he added.
SANAD and Bank Audi will be considering expanding the partnership in other countries in the region, the statement said.
The fund targets the Middle East, operating in Algeria, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia.