A digest of recent news from the EBRD
EBRD launches latest growth forecast in times of “unprecedented uncertainty”
The EBRD launched its latest macroeconomic forecast for its regions on Wednesday. According to the Regional Economic Prospects, the EBRD economies are expected to contract by 3.5 per cent in 2020 and are likely to rebound by 4.8 per cent in 2021. Projections are subject to “unprecedented uncertainty” due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Chief Economist Beata Javorcik spoke to the Financial Times, Bloomberg and Reuters, explaining the impact of the pandemic on the countries where the EBRD invests. The forecasts were quoted widely and suggest that central and eastern European countries will weather the storm better than the south.
Belgrade-based Lead Economist Peter Tabak and Regional Director Zsuzsanna Hargitai hosted a webinar with IMF and World Bank colleagues, discussing what the post-pandemic future holds for the Western Balkans.
Eric Livny, Lead Economist for Central Asia, spoke to Reuters, Interfax and Uzbekistan Report about regional forecasts.
In a piece for “Romania Insider” the economists Jakov Milatovic and Radu Cracan set out options as to how Romania could overcome the current challenges.
Istanbul-based lead economist Roger Kelly told Anadolu Agency what to expect from the Turkish economy in 2021.
EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti and the European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi, discussed what Europe is doing to help its neighbourhood respond to the Covid-19 crisis.
Spotlight on Turkey
The EBRD is ramping up its support for Turkey’s banking sector with a €100 million financing package for QNB Finansbank and a US$ 100 million loan to Yapi Kredi. Funds will be on-lent to Turkish businesses and will support trade finance activities.
A US$ 125 million package to Enerjisa Enerji is the first project under the EBRD’s Vital Infrastructure Support Programme. It will help the utility safeguard electricity supply for 21 million people and ensure that network investments continue.
Société Générale has joined the effort to finance a new metro line in Izmir. The lender has provided €25 million supplementing the €80 million loan provided by the EBRD in 2018.
EBRD is hopeful of a V-shaped recovery in Turkey, President Chakrabarti told Anadolu Agency, reconfirming the Bank’s commitment to the country. He praised investments in healthcare that allowed the sector to cope well with the pandemic.
Supporting the frontline
A US$ 25 million loan will enable Georgia Healthcare Group to adapt six major hospitals for diagnosing and treating Covid-19 patients. Catarina Bjorlin Hansen, EBRD Regional Director for the Caucasus, tweeted: “This is job satisfaction”.
Reaching small businesses
In Egypt, one of the country’s largest lenders, QNB ALAHLI, received a US$ 200 million EBRD financing package to support local businesses and trade.
In North Macedonia, the EBRD partnered with Sparkasse Leasing to channel €1 million to SMEs. The project is supported by the European Union.
A bond issued by Egypt’s New Urban Communities Authority, with the EBRD among the investors, has won the “Deal of the Year 2020 - Africa” award in the securitisation category by The Banker, a sister publication of the Financial Times.
The EBRD marked the fifth anniversary of the Small Business Impact Fund this week. Over €42 million have been raised from donor countries to maximise EBRD impact in supporting small businesses.
Globalisation will have to change
During an FT Global Boardroom panel on emerging markets, Beata Javorcik, joined by WTO Chief Economist Robert Koopman and Director General for Trade at the European Commission Sabine Weyand, discussed how the crisis will not end, but change globalisation
New Podcast: “Future of trust and populism”
The EBRD’s Jonathan Charles and Kerrie Law as presenters were joined by Barry Eichengreen and Sergei Guriev to discuss “coronavirus and the future of trust and populism”.
Coronavirus lesson from Chernobyl
The Director of the EBRD Chernobyl Shelter Fund, Simon Evans, took part in a Webinar about “(Re)Placing Chernobyl” inspired by the HBO series about the 1986 accident and said: “Nuclear Safety is like a pandemic –we neglect preparedness if everything is fine and we regret it when something happens”.
Stories of resilience and solidarity
Socially responsible businesses in Belarus are actively helping the state to contain the coronavirus outbreak and do what they can to fight the virus. Examples include EBRD clients such as garment producer Mark Formelle, maker of dental hygiene items Modum and software developer ScienceSoft.
In Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mlini, a family-run bakery famous is bringing together tradition and modern technology. The EBRD and EU are helping the company with energy-saving technology.
In the Kyrgyz Republic, entrepreneur Ubai Matkasymov switched production to manufacture contactless soap and antiseptics dispensers. The EBRD and EU helped the firm with IT advisory services that resulted in improved efficiency.
In the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, the Tajik mattress maker Insoft started producing reusable facemasks and protective suits. 9,000 items have already been delivered to private and public clinics.
The EBRD launched an entertaining quiz on Instagram to check your knowledge of the countries where the EBRD invests. What is Uzbekistan’s main export and which country is the most vulnerable to the loss of tourism revenue because of coronavirus?
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