Développement international Desjardins (DID) officially launched the Centre financier financial aux entrepreneurs (CFE) de Tunisie (Entrepreneur Financial Centre or EFC of Tunisia). The new MFI will meet the needs of micro and small enterprises (MSEs) in Tunisia by providing financial products and services that are diversified and accessible. The EFC will initially focus on development in the greater Tunis area and then expand into surrounding areas and the interior, targeting zones with concentrations of MSEs. Various financial partners, including the Government of Canada through Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD) will be associated with the EFC to finance the operations and development of the institution during the initial years. This support will allow DID to manage the financial institution and its deployment while strengthening its operations.
The loans provided by the EFC are designed to develop MSEs and for leasehold acquisitions or improvements. Loans will also include microcredit for women entrepreneurs in particular who are too often excluded from financial systems. Other products dedicated to SMEs will be subsequently introduced in function of the needs observed. The EFC plans to recruit, train, and coach 130 employees enabling them to disburse approximately 14,000 loans and build a loan portfolio worth 64.4 million Tunisian dinars (USD 3.3 billion) by the end 2019. It is estimated that the EFC over this period will have contributed directly or indirectly to creating and maintaining 76,000 jobs.