A digest of recent news from the EBRD
- The EBRD is financing the modernisation of the metro network in the Georgian capital Tbilisi under its EBRD Green Cities programme, underscoring its commitment to green and sustainable investment and vital infrastructure. The EBRD will provide a €65 million sovereign loan with the Green Climate Fund (GCF) contributing a further €10 million.
Mayors from the EBRD’s 40-city urban sustainability programme took part in an EBRD Green Cities webinar to hear about the Vital Infrastructure Support Programme.
- EBRD executives about Vienna Initiative, trade finance and future of work
In a series of high-profile media engagements this week, senior EBRD representatives discussed questions raised by the coronavirus crisis. President Suma Chakrabarti spoke to the Financial Times about a revival of the Vienna Initiative - and its role in helping to ensure a coordinated response to the pandemic within the financial sector in emerging Europe.
This was followed by an interview with Francis Malige, Managing Director, Financial Institutions, about global trade flows and the EBRD’s role in proving support, telling the Financial Times that the Bank’s volume in trade finance had reached a new record in March 2020.
Finally, Chief Economist Beata Javorcik joined a live panel on the BBC’s Newsnight programme, discussing the future of cities, work and new divisions of labour in a post-Covid-19 world. She argued that massive changes will be inevitable with profound impact on everybody’s lives.
- EBRD President in conversation with government and bank heads
EBRD President Chakrabarti led the Bank’s efforts to coordinate the international response to the current challenges in conversations with the heads of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, the Asian Development Bank, Masatsugu Asakawa, and the Inter-American Development Bank, Luis Alberto Moreno, this week.
He also continued his outreach to leaders of EBRD countries of operation, among them President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbajan, Prime Minister Omar Razzaz of Jordan, Prime Minister Ludovic Orban of Romania and the Prime Minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Zoran Tegletja.
- The EBRD helped the Romanian capital Bucharest bridge a financing gap with a RON 555 million (€115 million equivalent) loan to refinance the municipality’s 2015 bond programme. The leading business daily Ziarul Financiar reported: “Bucharest municipality has been saved from an unprecedented financial crisis.”
- The EBRD and the National Bank of Georgia joined forces to boost local currency lending in the country. The two institutions set up a US$-GEL foreign exchange swap facility, enabling the EBRD to secure reliable access to GEL liquidity and continue lending in local currency to firms that are experiencing temporary difficulties.
- The EBRD also announced new projects this week with:
- €15 million to Polish private equity fund AVIA Capital for Polish SMEs
- A joint €6.5 million investment with Switzerland and the EU to support sustainable water utilities in the Kyrgyz Republic
- A €2.5 million loan to Ohridska Banka AD Skopje supporting homeowners making energy efficiency improvements in North Macedonia.
- The EBRD’s Green Trade Facilitation Programme (Green TFP) won a Leaders in Trade global award for global leadership in sustainable trade finance by the Global Trade Review.
The EBRD also increased support for business in Uzbekistan with an extra US$ 70 million trade finance line provided to Uzbekistan’s National Bank for Foreign Economic Activity (NBU).
- The latest EBRD podcast discusses what the coronavirus pandemic means for impact investing:
- New EBRD Director Eastern Mediterranean region:
The EBRD appointed Philip ter Woort Director for its eastern Mediterranean region, leading its future operations in Jordan, Lebanon and the West Bank and Gaza. Mr ter Woort will start his new position on 1 July 2020 and will be based in Jordan.
10. EBRD clients helping fight the coronavirus pandemic:
- In the southern and eastern Mediterranean region, EBRD clients are switching production to support the health sector by manufacturing masks, gowns and other protective equipment or by purchasing these items and donating them.
- In Montenegro, HOLOS, a pharmaceuticals SME, has started delivering medical products to clients’ homes.
- In Greece, Biomedical Research Foundation is analysing ways to detect the virus, understand its genesis and discover ways to exterminate it.
- In Turkmenistan, dry-cleaning company MAÝAM has transformed its services to include disinfection of households and commercial premises.
- In Mongolia, Ariun produces sanitisers, disinfecting wipes, toilet paper and much more to fight against coronavirus.
- In Tajikistan, Shakhlo Vatanova, special working clothes manufacturer, has started producing 2000 reusable face masks a day for medical clinics, stores, public transport and other companies in response to Covid-19.