New credit facilities to support sustainable energy projects and women entrepreneurs
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is stepping up its investments in Belarus by extending new credit lines of up to €10 million to Belinvestbank, one of the largest banks in the country.
The loans will support the planned privatisation of Belinvestbank agreed between the government of Belarus and the EBRD in May 2015 by broadening its business activities and outreach.
The two credit lines are an €8 million credit line under the Belarus Sustainable Energy Finance Facility (BelSEFF) and a €2 million senior loan under the EBRD’s Women in Business programme. They will help improve Belinvestbank’s commercial operation and broaden its client base in line with best international practices.
The BelSEFF credit line will be used by Belinvestbank to finance projects in energy efficiency and renewable energy across the country. It will provide the lender with the necessary resources to support local, small and medium-sized private businesses. In addition, Belinvestbank will benefit from a free-of-charge technical assistance package to support its lending under its BelSEFF credit line. This technical assistance is funded through a grant from the Ministry of Finance of the Czech Republic.
The senior loan under the Bank’s Women in Business programme will help Belinvestbank finance the development of women’s entrepreneurship in Belarus. The programme - funded by the EBRD, the EU, Sweden and the EBRD Early Transition Countries Fund - is available to women-led SMEs and promotes female entrepreneurship by providing access to finance and know-how solutions necessary for business growth.
”We highly appreciate the results of our cooperation with the EBRD. At the moment, thanks to the EBRD involvement, there are processes in Belinvestbank, which will lead to maximum commercialisation of the bank’s activity once implemented. We are successfully implementing the set of measures aimed at the diversification of our loan portfolio and at the increase of banking operations efficiency, - noted Gennady Sysoev, Chairman of the Management Board of JSC “Belinvestbank”. – “Today we can talk about the fact, that a considerable part of credit resources provided to us under the small and medium-sized enterprises lending facility and the Trade Facilitation Programme (TFP), which we signed with the EBRD in May 2015, has been successfully disbursed”, - added Gennady Sysoev.
Francis Delaey, the EBRD’s Head of Office in Belarus, said: “We are satisfied that our planned cooperation with Belinvestbank is progressing well along the projected path. The credit lines extended by the EBRD today will promote projects in sustainable energy in the country and also help female entrepreneurs launch and develop their small businesses, which is particularly important for the sustainable growth of the domestic economy.”
In the countries where it invests, the EBRD is a market leader in promoting investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy projects. Since 2006, it has provided over €20 billion to 1,150 sustainable energy projects across all its countries of operations, including Belarus. These projects cover a broad range of sectors from clean power production, transmission and distribution to corporate energy efficiency, sustainable municipal infrastructure and sustainable transport. The Bank’s approach to climate finance combines commercial project financing and technical assistance for projects’ preparation with policy dialogue to improve the regulatory framework for these investments.
Since the start of its operations in Belarus in 1992, the EBRD has invested almost €1.8 billion in some 70 projects in various sectors of the country's economy.