EBRD channels new funds to Uzbekistan to support trade

By Anton Usov

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  • EBRD providing US$ 150 million trade finance facility to three Uzbek banks
  • Asaka Bank, Ipoteka Bank and UzPromstroybank to support local exporters and importers
  • Financing under EBRD Covid-19 Solidarity Package

Domestic businesses, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), in Central Asia’s most populated country, Uzbekistan, will be able to continue their business activities despite the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, thanks to a new trade finance facility provided by the EBRD to three local banks.

A package of up to US$ 150 million will be made available to Asaka Bank, Ipoteka Bank and UzPromstroybank, which will receive new limits under the EBRD’s Trade Facilitation Programme (TFP). The funds will be used to help Uzbek exporters and importers mitigate the disruptions that severe market conditions have caused in trade and supply chains.

Trade finance limits of US$ 60 million to Asaka Bank, US$30 million to Ipoteka Bank and US$ 60 million to UzPromstroybank will allow Uzbek businesses to better manage commodity stocks and plan for longer trade cycles.

The three financial institutions are long-term EBRD clients, which together operate over 100 branches across the country and provide services to tens of thousands of domestic businesses. They are well placed to promote foreign economic activity by local firms, which is much needed to support the national economy.

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. TFP provides access to finance for exporters and importers, including small businesses, strengthens local capacity in compliance and advances trade finance skills.

Following the decision of the EBRD Board of Directors on 13 March to provide an emergency €1 billion support package to existing clients in the economies where it invests, including in Uzbekistan, the EBRD has seen huge demand for its financing. The Bank is currently working on the launch of an even larger second package to increase the scope of its assistance.

To date, the EBRD has invested €1.85 billion through 79 projects in Uzbekistan’s economy.

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