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EBRD opens new resident office in Lviv

By Anton Usov

Wider regional presence to support operations in western Ukraine
The EBRD is further strengthening its regional engagement in Ukraine by opening a resident office in Lviv. The new office, which opened today, will broaden the Bank’s outreach to businesses in the western regions of the country in line with its commitment to step up its efforts in Ukraine.
Since the beginning of 2014 the EBRD has already channelled over €800 million to 27 projects in Ukraine and is firmly on course to invest around €1 billion into the national economy by year-end.
The Lviv office will initially focus on supporting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by facilitating the provision of advisory services and by providing financing in western Ukraine.
The historic city of Lviv with a population of 725,000 is one of the most dynamic municipalities in Ukraine, which also serves as a link with neighbouring EU countries. Over the years, the EBRD has provided more than €250 million to projects in the Lviv region, mostly to support the private sector.
In addition, the EBRD has also been very active in supporting Lviv’s infrastructure by offering modern urban solutions in public transport and district heating sectors. The Bank has also played a major role in improving Lviv’s position as a business hub by co-financing the M06 (Kiev-Chop) highway.
The office was opened by EBRD First Vice President Phil Bennett accompanied by the Bank’s Vice President, Betsy Nelson, and Lviv mayor, Andriy Sadovyi.
“We are ready to support feasible private sector projects as well as necessary infrastructure investments in the entire country. By opening an office in Lviv we are signalling to the local and international business community that we want to contribute to Ukraine’s development and the importance we give to its regions in achieving that objective”, Mr Bennett said.
The Lviv office will initially be staffed by members of the EBRD Small Business Support (SBS) team, which provides small firms with the know-how they need to become successful and grow. SBS will offer local and regional SMEs services to improve their performance and product quality.
Charlotte Ruhe, Director of SBS, said: “The expansion of our work to better reach SMEs in western Ukraine is an exciting challenge and a great opportunity for our team to show what we can deliver. SBS is an important and unique tool of the EBRD and we are pleased to apply our expertise for the benefit of the local economy.”
Sevki Acuner, EBRD Director for Ukraine, added: "Increasing our support for the development of SMEs across a range of sectors is an important cornerstone of our strategy in Ukraine.”
The SBS team, which started working in Ukraine in 2009, is funded mainly by the EU as well as Italy, Japan, Norway, Sweden and the EBRD Shareholder Special Fund. To date, it has provided access to business advice and expertise to over 400 companies across Ukraine. A considerable portion of these companies are based in the western regions of the country.
The EBRD is the largest financial investor in Ukraine. As of October 2014 the Bank had committed almost €9.8 billion (US$ 12.4 billion) across 337 projects in the country.
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