The US Agency for International Development (USAID) and two private banks-Hatton National Bank and Sampath Bank-announced a new partnership programme of up to USD 9 million for local financing available to private, micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) throughout Sri Lanka.
The USAID Development Credit Authority (DCA) is also a partner of the new programme. The signing of the agreement took place on September 5 in Colombo.
In a statement, the US Embassy said this seven year program will help to address the current lack of financing to these key borrower groups.
“This partnership will complement and be further supported by USAID's YouLead program that strengthens employability and self-employment opportunities for youth in Sri Lanka,” it said.
Reed Aeschliman, Mission Director for USAID Sri Lanka said the USAID is proud to encourage private sector lending in key sectors that are vital to the economic development of Sri Lanka.
"Increasing access to credit enables youth entrepreneurs to improve their own lives, and helps small and medium enterprises to spur further economic growth in their respective regions," he said.
The program represents a crucial step toward enabling Sri Lanka's private sector and youth entrepreneurs to access capital, expand businesses, and, ultimately, to create more jobs.
Jude Fernando, HNB Deputy General Manager (SME and Mid-Market) said the new partnership between HNB, USAID, and Sampath Bank represents a vital step forward in the collective mission in enhancing economic opportunities for young Sri Lankans.
Meanwhile, Tharaka Ranwala, Senior Deputy Managing Director of Sampath Bank said they welcome this scheme which will provide better access to much required capital for the new entrepreneurs and it aligns well with their entrepreneurship development initiative.