Financing to support small local businesses and stimulate trade
Demonstrating the EBRD’s return to active support in Uzbekistan, the Bank is providing a major boost to local small and medium-sized businesses in the country, as well as to domestic importers and exporters.
The EBRD is providing a loan of up to US$ 100 million to the country’s largest financial institution, the National Bank for Foreign Economic Activity of Uzbekistan (NBU).
The financing package will consist of a US$ 70 million credit line to support micro, small and medium-sized businesses (MSMEs) across Uzbekistan and a limit of up to US$ 30 million under the EBRD’s Trade Facilitation Programme (TFP).
With 93 branches across Uzbekistan, NBU will be well placed to provide much-needed financial resources to smaller businesses, especially in rural areas of the country, by on-lending the EBRD funds to eligible companies that aim to grow their business.
Meanwhile, the trade finance facility will help NBU to support import and export transactions, further develop its correspondent banking services and strengthen its trade finance product range.
EBRD First Vice-President Phil Bennett said: “We welcome NBU to the family of partner banks working with us in the countries where we invest. I am confident that that our credit lines and financial know-how will help this institution become strong, resilient and active in supporting Uzbekistan’s economy. At the same time I am also convinced that access to new funds will strengthen and deepen the growth of Uzbek companies and help to realise their potential.”
NBU Chairman of the Board Sukhrob Kholmuradov expressed his deep conviction that signing the Agreement between NBU and EBRD will be a new stage for a mutual cooperation and realization of new projects which will assist to the further development of SMPE sector in Uzbekistan. He welcomes EBRD in Uzbekistan and believes that financial assistance and capacity building of EBRD will be a great asset for Uzbek economy.
The EBRD is the largest institutional investor in Central Asia, with close to €11.6 billion (US$ 12.3 billion equivalent) committed to projects in a variety of sectors, from infrastructure to agriculture, with a focus on private sector development.
The TFP promotes international trade to, from, and within the Bank’s countries of operations, including Uzbekistan. Through the Programme, the EBRD provides guarantees to international confirming banks, taking the political and commercial payment risk of international trade transactions undertaken by banks in these countries. In 2016 alone, the Programme supported 1,359 trade finance transactions totalling €1.45 billion across the EBRD region.
Between 1992 and 2010, the EBRD invested €894 million in Uzbekistan in 54 projects and its current portfolio stands at €8 million. Entering a new stage of engagement in the country, the Bank has already identified a number of possible new projects, some of which are due to be signed by the end of 2017, with more to follow in 2018.