EBRD commits more resources to small and medium-sized business support in Ukraine

By Anton Usov

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is pledging more funds to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Ukraine, at a time when there are very few SME lending programmes available from other financial institutions.

A new SME lending facility of US$ 55 million will be available through PJSC Raiffeisen Bank Aval - a long-term financial partner of the EBRD in Ukraine. Raiffeisen Bank Aval has established itself as a committed SME lender and has one of the largest regional networks of branches in the country. It is perfectly positioned to address the financial needs of small and medium-sized Ukrainian businesses, especially those seeking longer maturities.

Such support is vital in Ukraine. Although SMEs are responsible for only 15 per cent of GDP (compared to 47 per cent in Poland and 40 per cent in Turkey) long-term financing for such businesses remains scarce.

The EBRD is the largest financial investor in Ukraine. As of 1 January 2014 the Bank had committed €8.7 billion (US$ 11.9 billion) through 321 projects in Ukraine.