The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is stepping up its efforts in Ukraine, working to support the economy and the Bank’s clients through difficult times and to better prepare private enterprise for the return of growth.
One of the areas in which the EBRD is increasing its engagement is trade finance. The Bank’s Trade Facilitation Programme (TFP) works with eight local banks in Ukraine (and over a hundred more around the EBRD region) to enable their private corporate clients to continue their international trade. To date, the programme has supported trade transactions worth €1.5 billion in Ukraine, of which over €175 million were processed in 2014.
“We are working to increase the number of local banks with which we cooperate, and we believe that this year Ukraine will become the largest country by business volume for the EBRD’s Trade Finance Programme. We want to broaden the range of our priorities – for example, to support imports of energy-efficient equipment, such as efficient tractors for agriculture or equipment for renewable energy generation,” said Rudolf Putz, Head of the EBRD’s TFP.
The Trade Finance Programme partnered with Worldwide Expert Trade Finance conferences to bring to Kiev a two-day event dedicated to trade finance. The well-attended conference on 30 September and 1 October brought together bankers and experts from 12 countries.
The opening address at the conference was given by the newly appointed EBRD Managing Director for Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus and the Caucasus, Francis Malige. He touched on EBRD priorities in Ukraine, where the Bank aims to invest €1 billion this year, and praised the role of the TFP in supporting businesses.
Malige also looked at how Ukraine was dealing with its current challenges and how the EBRD was responding to these. He commented: “Ukraine is facing severe recession, a geopolitical crisis, a banking system crisis and an energy supply crisis, each of which would represent a very serious issue in any country. So Ukraine's resilience is admirable, and this puts a heavy responsibility on our shoulders to provide support without compromising our sound banking and transition mandate.”
Ukraine is the second-largest portfolio of the EBRD and the Bank is the leading foreign investor in the country, with €9.5 billion invested to date. Currently the EBRD works with the authorities on a range of policy issues, in areas ranging from the banking sector to the anti-corruption initiative and more.