(MENAFN - The Peninsula) Serbia has signed an agreement for a 1bn loan from Abu Dhabi, the emirate's Department of Finance said yesterday, boosting the Balkan country's drive to find investors from outside the eurozone
Serbian Finance Minister Lazar Krstic had said that the 10-year loan would be given at an interest rate of two percent.
"This loan will provide new opportunities for cooperation and will develop economic and trade relations. It will support the Serbian economy and will provide numerous investment opportunities for the two sides. It will also support the goals of joint projects between the two countries," Krstic said in a statement
It would further encourage private and public sectors within the United Arab Emirates to look for investment opportunities in Serbia, the statement said
The UAE approved a 400m loan to Serbia in 2013, used for investment in irrigation throughout Serbia and loans for farmers for the purchase of agricultural equipment. Last year, state-owned Abu Dhabi carrier Etihad Airways acquired a 40m, 49 percent stake in Serbian flag carrier JAT Airways, which was renamed as Air Serbia.
In 2013, Belgrade announced arms deals with the UAE, including exports of armoured personnel carriers and the joint development of a guided surface-to-surface missile
For the UAE, the relationship offers an early back door route into the European Union, which Belgrade wants to join, and access to the former Yugoslavia's industry. Serbia, a country of 7.3 million people, hopes to join the EU by 2020. Investing there would offer the UAE a chance of eventual direct access to the huge EU market before costs rise