EBRD provides advice to Ukrainian agribusiness

By Anton Usov

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Programme to support SME development, stimulate sector growth
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) continues to commit resources to supporting Ukraine’s agribusiness sector, which is one of the driving forces of the domestic economy.
Of the €1 billion in new funding channelled to Ukraine by the EBRD in 2014, almost a third was received by a variety of agribusiness clients across the country.
The Bank has recently launched its Advice for Agribusiness programme, aimed at Ukrainian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The programme, funded through the EBRD-Ukraine Stabilisation and Sustainable Growth Multi-donor Account, has a budget of €750,000 to be used over the next three years.
It will engage companies across the agribusiness sector, who can inquire about the programme through the EBRD’s resident office in Kiev or by email.
The programme provides expert industry advice to local SMEs, allowing them to improve operational performance and corporate governance, as well as food safety and quality standards. Advice for Agribusiness brings together the Bank’s in-depth knowledge of the sector, its extensive network of consultants and its experience in advising SMEs.
Charlotte Ruhe, Director of the EBRD’s Small Business Support team, said: “Expert advice of this kind can play a pivotal role in equipping SMEs for the challenges of future growth. Supporting small firms is one of the Bank’s priorities, and programmes like this one are an important part of helping SMEs access the finance and know-how they need.”
Over the past two years, the programme has initiated 32 projects in 11 countries across eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Caucasus and the southern and eastern Mediterranean region. During this short period of time, more than a third of the companies that participated in the programme managed to secure local or international funding for their growth.
More companies are expected to obtain access to finance once the proposed business advice has been put to work.
EBRD Director for Agribusiness, Gilles Mettetal, commented: “We feel it is very important to support local agribusiness companies across the region, particularly in Ukraine, where this sector plays such an important role. Timely expert advice is vital for the sustainable development of agribusiness SMEs; I am very pleased that our shareholders understand the importance of this task and support it financially.”
The EBRD is the largest financial investor in Ukraine. By the end of December 2014 the Bank had committed almost €10 billion (US$ 12.4 billion equivalent) through 342 projects in the country.
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