A digest of recent news from the EBRD
Local currency support for businesses in Ukraine
The EBRD and the National Bank of Ukraine agreed to set up a US$ 500 million swap facility to increase the availability of Ukrainian hryvnias (UAH) to local businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. First transactions are expected in the coming weeks.
Stepping up support in Turkey
DenizBank, a key Turkish lender, will scale up its trade finance activities and lending to smaller municipalities and agricultural firms amid the coronavirus pandemic thanks to a comprehensive US$ 175 million financial package under the EBRD Solidarity Package.
EBRD is extending a €25 million loan to Netlog Logistics, the largest provider of logistics services in Turkey, to make supply chains more resilient and support domestic and international trade specifically during the coronavirus crisis.
EBRD Managing Director Arvid Tuerkner tells how the Bank is helping Turkey’s banks in The Banker’s latest issue.
EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti gave an interview to Turkey’s Anadolu Agency which he used to reiterate the Bank’s support for the country and especially its vibrant private sector.
EBRD pledges increased investment at EU/Western Balkans Summit
EBRD President Chakrabarti told a European Union-Western Balkans summit that the Bank is planning a sharp rise of €1.7 billion in financing for the Western Balkans this year. The SEENews agency reported that this will be combined with grant contributions from EU partners. The Bank has also stepped up its support for reforms to help the region.
"The Western Balkans cannot shoulder this burden alone," EBRD Regional Director Zsuzsanna Hargitai wrote in an op-ed for the newspaper Danas. She underlined the Bank’s long-term commitment to the region.
New trade finance record
The EBRD set a new record in trade finance delivering an unprecedented €503.5 million via 179 trade transactions in April under its Trade Facilitation Programme (TFP), compared with €385.6 million for 144 operations in March 2020, which itself had already been a new record.
In a series of interviews, the head of TFP, Rudolf Putz, set out how the EBRD is addressing the current threats to international trade. The Austrian daily Die Presse said the Vienna Institute for Economics had “praised the EBRD’s response”.
Chief Economist Javorcik: World needs a new free trade order
EBRD Chief Economist Beata Javorcik proposed in an interview with The Daily Telegraph a new Bretton Woods conference to promote free trade in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
She also used an interview on Sky News on Sunday to warn against a “return to protectionism.”
Economist event with Ivan Krastev
The EBRD’s Office of the Chief Economist held a special live event on the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the future with the political scientist and commentator Ivan Krastev. He warned of the crisis’s severe political implications and the possible erosion of traditional civil rights. He was joined in a debate by EBRD Chief Economist Javorcik and the Financial Times columnist Martin Sandbu.
New Podcast: “What does coronavirus pandemic mean for gender inequality?”
The EBRD #PocketDilemmas podcast discussed this week “What does the coronavirus pandemic mean for gender inequality?” with Linda Midgeley of PwC, Dawn Duhaney from the Wellcome Trust and Sonya Barlow of Like Minded Females.
SEMED Managing Director on Covid-19 response in Egypt
“The EBRD is the first international institution to respond to Egypt’s efforts to alleviate the economic impacts of the coronavirus outbreak. The Bank approved an initial US$850 million in loans under our Solidarity Package to the financial sector in Egypt with a special focus on trade facilities and SMEs”, Heike Harmgart, the Managing Director for the southern and eastern Mediterranean region told Ahram Online.
Uranium legacy remediation fund reports progresses
The Kyrgyz Republic signed a contract for remediation works in Shekaftar under the EBRD’s Environmental Remediation Account for Central Asia (ERA). Meanwhile, a framework agreement with Tajikistan went into force as the basis for work to begin.
EBRD clients responding to the coronavirus pandemic:
Youspital, an online platform providing access to discounted healthcare services and member of the European Union and Korea funded EBRD Programme, Star Venture in Egypt, responded to the Covid-19 pandemic by offering home testing to clients for EGP 500 (around €30). This includes two rapid preliminary tests and ensures that underserved communities can afford to be tested for the virus.
As part of its Covid-19 response, our innovative client Amplitudo from Montenegro partnered with the Montenegrin Ministry of Education to develop a free-of-charge online platform, Učidoma (Learn at home), to help teachers and students keep up with the school schedule.
AugmentAR, an Armenian 3D printing company supported by the EBRD and the EU‘s EU4Business initiative through the Advice for Small Businesses programme produced over 4,000 masks and glasses and donated them to 50 hospitals around the country.