The manufacturing, agribusiness, energy, transport and infrastructure sectors play a major role in the knowledge economy. As well as generating much of the research and development that contributes to innovation, these industries constitute a huge market for new technologies capable of raising productivity.
Traditional businesses in the countries where the EBRD invests offer especially large scope for absorbing innovation, given the knowledge gap that separates them from industries in more technologically-advanced regions.
EBRD projects strongly support efforts by industrial clients to modernise their products and processes. For instance, the EBRD leads the way in promoting industrial energy efficiency in the region through its investments in cutting edge equipment and systems. These have repeatedly shown their ability to slash production costs and boost profits while also curbing greenhouse gas emissions.
The EBRD invests in many other forms of technological improvement within industry, as well as in research and development that pushes the frontiers of innovation. Under the Knowledge Economy Initiative, the EBRD will seek opportunities to increase financing for R&D and training and apprenticeship programmes.
The EBRD is also looking to invest in transformational technologies. For example, we are examining how the success of mobile banking in countries like Kenya can be replicated in parts of our own region.
Better tractors for more sustainable farming
A new tractor plant and a more efficient tractor engine will be built in Turkey with help from the EBRD. In 2013 TürkTraktör, one of the country’s leading manufacturers of farm tractors and other agricultural machinery, received €75 million in financing arranged by the EBRD, including a €30 million senior loan from the EBRD and up to €45 million syndicated to commercial banks.
The company will use the loan to modernise its plant in Ankara and build a brand new plant in Sakarya province east of Istanbul. The EBRD financing will also support research and development and engineering support from TürkTraktör shareholder, CNH Global, an Illinois-based manufacturer of agricultural equipment. This will enable the company to build better engines and tractors for more sustainable agriculture in the country and abroad. TürkTraktör will then pass this technological expertise to local suppliers of tractor parts in a move to improve manufacturing practices and quality standards across the sector.
Modernising steel production in Croatia
In 2013 the EBRD signed an investment with Italian company Danieli aimed at restarting production at a steel factory in the Croatian city of Sisak. Danieli owns Sisak Ironworks through its steel subsidiary ABS and has launched a restructuring and modernisation programme, which benefited from a €20 million Bank loan. As well as helping to restore the plant’s production capacity, the investment is expected to result in significant environmental, energy and resource efficiencies and cut greenhouse gas emissions. The project will also boost local research and development capacity, introduce Sisak’s employees to innovative technology and provide them with training.