A digest of recent news from the EBRD
- We organised an online EBRD/LSE panel with Chief Economist Beata Javorcik and her predecessors Nicholas Stern, Erik Berglof and Sergei Guriev on Thursday that assessed the impact and consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. The Facebook Live discussion was our most popular web event ever. The panellists agreed that – faced with unprecedented challenges – the global economy was at a crossroads: “This could go either way”, Lord Stern said, “We could go into deeper darkness or come out much better.”
- The EBRD’s initial Solidarity Package marked its first signing this week with combined trade finance lines of US$ 150 million extended to Asaka Bank, Ipoteka Bank and UzPromstroybank in Uzbekistan. The funds will help exporters and importers deal with the trade disruption cause by the impact of the coronavirus crisis. Trade finance is in high demand to keep the vital exchange of goods up and running.
- Policy engagement is an integral part of the EBRD’s business approach. This week we joined forces with the International Labour Organisation for a project in the Western Balkans to advise on action to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 crisis in employment and the labour market.
Meanwhile, years of joint effort by the EBRD and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) were rewarded with the admission of Serbia to the International Grain Council, an important move to support the further regional and international integration of this major grain producer.
- To help policymakers in EBRD countries of operations address the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, we are monitoring, country by country, the economic channels of disruption and government crisis response measures.
- Amid concerns that the immediate threat of the coronavirus crisis will negatively impact investments in green energy, the EBRD is demonstrating its commitment to renewable energy investments with a PLN 40 million loan (€8.85 million-equivalent) to Estonia’s Enefit Green company entering Poland’s solar market. Enefit Green is buying a portfolio of newly completed solar farms, strengthening a sector that will become a key contributor to the decarbonisation of Poland’s energy industry.
- In another major development both for renewable and transparent and fair procurement the EBRD welcomed Uzbekistan’s first PPP tender for wind power, which will help the development of a 100 MW generation facility in the Karakalpakstan region. The facility will reduce carbon emissions and use green energy to power up the country with support from the EBRD shareholder and donor country Japan. Introducing highest standard procurement is a key component in attracting foreign investors.
- The latest EBRD #PocketDilemmas podcast asks: “Can open borders survive the coronavirus pandemic? Can migration save the global economy post-pandemic?” The new episode features Helen Dempster from the Center for Global Development and EBRD economist Cevat Giray Aksoy in conversation with Jonathan Charles and Kerrie Law.
- More than 3,700 households across the Western Balkans are keeping energy bills low during coronavirus, thanks to green investments through our Green Energy Financing Facility. Supported by the EU and Austria the platform supports the decarbonisation of countries where energy usage is around 2.5 times higher than the average for OECD countries in Europe.
- Zsuzsanna Hargitai, EBRD Regional Director Western Balkans and Head of Serbia, speaks about the Bank’s Covid-19 response in south-eastern Europe in our latest video
Meanwhile, a new video and Instagram stories from Serbia showed how, with modern snow removal equipment, Zlatibor ski resort is saving costs and energy with the donor support of the European Union, the Western Balkans Investment Fund and Austria.
- Small firms stepping up to the coronavirus challenge:
Clotwell, manufacturer of functional wear and special gear in Kazakhstan, has started producing face masks for public and private enterprises and working overtime in Covid-19 response. We help the company with business advice, with support from the Government of Kazakhstan.
In Ukraine, EBRD client Santa Ukraina, which benefited from business advice supported by EU Near, Santa Ukraina, has switched production from clothes to face masks for medical workers and vulnerable people in Pervomaisk.
Our SME client MojSan from Bosnia and Herzegovina donated 1000 mattresses to hospitals and care facilities fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
Our innovative client Amplitudo has joined efforts with the teachers of Montenegro & Ministry of Education of Montenegro to ensure that students can learn at home during the coronavirus pandemic.
- The EBRD turned 29 this week. One of our most popular LinkedIn posts ever marked the anniversary.