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Early transition countries initiative

The Early Transition Countries Initiative aims to stimulate economic activity in the Bank's countries which still face the most significant transition challenges: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kyrgyz Republic, Moldova, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. More than 50 per cent of the people in these countries live below the national poverty line.

In early 2004 the EBRD launched a new initiative to increase its activities in the ten ‘Early Transition Countries’ (ETCs).

The initiative aims to stimulate market activity in these countries by using a streamlined approach to financing more and smaller projects, mobilising more investment, and encouraging ongoing economic reform. The initiative builds on international efforts to address poverty in these members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (the former Soviet Union).

The Bank will accept higher risk in the projects it finances in the ETCs, while still respecting the principles of sound banking. To increase its investments in these countries the EBRD has allocated more staff to work on ETC projects and has created a new team dedicated to the initiative.

Factsheet (687KB - PDF)

Local currency loan programme (989KB - PDF)

More than 50% live in poverty

The ETCs have lagged behind the rest of the region in their transition to market economies and more than one out of every two people live below the poverty line.

Economic development is hindered by a number of factors:

  • national debt is extremely high in most of the ETCs;
  • reform and improvement of key institutions – banks, courts and regulatory authorities, state enterprises, infrastructure – is slow, as is the transition to democracy and stability;
  • business skills are lacking;
  • domestic markets are small, distances large, borders are difficult to cross (whether by goods or people);
  • basic services from roads to telecommunications are not in good shape.

This poor investment climate, which discourages foreign investment, will be addressed by the initiative:

  • at the micro level of individual project finance and advisory services to local enterprises and financial
  • and the macro level of policy dialogue and institutional reform in selected sectors.

Focus on private sector

Priorities for each of the ETCs will be set out in the relevant EBRD country strategy and will take into account national poverty reduction strategies.

The EBRD initiative emphasises private sector development, particularly in micro, small and medium sized enterprises (MSEs and SMEs). These enterprises offer the greatest opportunities for creating sustainable employment and prosperity. They also can have a positive impact on a country’s transition to democracy: their owners have a stake in improving the ways laws and regulations are made and implemented, and in reducing corruption.

The EBRD has developed and/or adjusted several financing instruments dedicated to the funding of local entrepreneurs and enterprises, to better address ETC needs.

Donor support

Support from the donor community is a key element in EBRD’s strategy for the ETC countries. The ETC Initiative's impact depends on the coordinated efforts of the EBRD and donor governments and organisations that provide grants in support of the Bank’s ETC investments.

Early Transition Countries Fund
News and activities

Country information
Armenia
Azerbaijan
Belarus
Georgia
Kyrgyz Republic
Moldova
Mongolia
Tajikistan
Turkmenistan
Uzbekistan

Financing facilities

Apply for financing

To be eligible for EBRD funding, projects must:

  • have strong management
  • have strong commercial prospects
  • involve significant equity contributions in-cash or in-kind from the project sponsor
  • benefit the local economy and help develop the private sector
  • satisfy sound banking and environmental standards.

EBRD will also require detailed information about the project, the sponsors and the size and type of finance required.

Following receipt of this information, the Bank will be able to determine possible financing options.

Prospective borrowers are encouraged to approach EBRD at an early stage of their project, where your first point of contact is the respective local EBRD Resident Office in the country concerned or the Early Transition Team at the EBRD Headquarters in London.


Last updated 22 October 2013

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