Cyprus: small business loans helped the economy out of the crisis

The Finance Minister of Cyprus says that 269 loans from the European Investment Bank to small and medium enterprises in the last three years have helped the economy recover from an economic crisis that almost pushed the island nation into bankruptcy.

Harris Georgiades said government-backed loans created 821 new jobs, generated investments of 440 million euros and helped the economy grow 0.3 percent in 2015 and another 0.5 percent in 2016.

Ten banks disbursed 290.5 million euros ($ 346 million) with an average loan of around 1 million euros. Most of the money, 43 percent, went to businesses related to tourism.

Georgiades spoke on Wednesday during the signing of two other small business loan contracts with the director of the EIB, Anita Feurstenberg.

Cyprus received a multi-million dollar lifeguard from creditors in March 2013 to avoid a banking collapse.