EDB signs deal with Ajman Free Zone to help Emirati-led SMEs grow

This is the first agreement that EDB has signed with a free zone

EDB will provide financing support to SMEs registered with Ajman Free Zone. Photo: Wam
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Emirates Development Bank signed a preliminary agreement with Ajman Free Zone to support the development of Emirati-led small and medium enterprises and to focus on other areas of mutual interest.

This is the first deal that EDB has signed with a free zone in the country, the bank said on Wednesday.

"EDB and AFZ are both focused on supporting the key priority industrial sectors in the UAE and have a shared vision to boost economic development, technological advancement and long-term growth," said Ahmed Al Naqbi, chief executive of EDB.

"Through our collaborative efforts, we will provide innovative financial solutions and support, such as mentoring and training, to empower SMEs and entrepreneurs within AFZ."

EDB was founded in 2011 through a merger between the Emirates Industrial Bank and Real Estate Bank. It aims to provide Dh30 billion in financing over the next five years to support the UAE's efforts to more than double the size of its industrial sector by 2031.

It will fund industries such as healthcare, infrastructure, food security and technology, and help generate 25,000 jobs.

Under the deal, EDB will provide financing support to SMEs registered with Ajman Free Zone.

EDB has previoulsy signed agreements with local lenders in an effort to increase financing for SMEs in the manufacturing sector as part of its latest strategy.

Last week, the bank announced an agreement with Emirates NBD to provide more financial support to local SMEs in priority sectors.

As part of the deal, Emirates NBD will offer up to Dh5 million ($1.36m) of financing to SMEs with 50 per cent of it being guaranteed by EDB.

EDB has signed similar deals with other lenders in the UAE including RAKBank, Commercial Bank of Dubai and the National Bank of Umm Al Qaiwain this year.

Updated: September 29, 2021, 2:39 PM