New EBRD green finance in North Macedonia in time of coronavirus crisis

By Axel  Reiserer

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  • New EBRD €2.5 million loan to Ohridska Banka AD Skopje for residential energy efficiency
  • First project since outbreak of coronavirus
  • GEFF supported by EU, Austria and Western Balkans Investment Framework

The EBRD is demonstrating its support for North Macedonia with a new €2.5 million loan to Ohridska Banka AD Skopje that will help the country withstand the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on its economy.

The EBRD’s first investment in North Macedonia since the outbreak of the global crisis will support energy efficiency improvements to residential buildings, help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve homeowners’ quality of life.

Andi Aranitasi, EBRD Head of North Macedonia, said: “The signing of this loan today shows that the EBRD is standing by its partner banks and is ready to support them under all circumstances. We note that demand for energy efficiency loans continues in this time of crisis and we are available to serve clients in support of North Macedonia’s transition to a green economy.”

The financing is the EBRD’s third loan agreement with Ohridska Banka AD Skopje and comes under the Green Economy Financing Facility programme (GEFF). The funds will be on-lent to support investment by private homeowners in green technologies and materials as well as investment in boilers, windows and lighting. The country’s building stock is in urgent need of refurbishment and the introduction of insulation, for example, is expected to lower costs and improve comfort.

Ohridska Banka AD Skopje, which in 2019 became part of the Steiermärkische Sparkasse group, is a longstanding partner of the EBRD and a market leader in financing green residential projects in North Macedonia.

GEFF in North Macedonia is part of the EBRD’s €85 million Western Balkans Green Economy Financing Facility, launched in 2017. The programme is a joint initiative by the European Union (EU), the Austrian Federal Ministry of Finance and beneficiary countries cooperating under the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF).

It is implemented under the umbrella of the Regional Energy Efficiency Programme for the Western Balkans (REEP Plus), funded by the EU and implemented in partnership with the Energy Community Secretariat. REEP Plus has also delivered policy support for harmonising the country’s law on energy efficiency and regulations for energy efficiency in buildings with the relevant European directives.

The EBRD is a major institutional investor in North Macedonia. To date, it has invested €2 billion in 131 projects in the country. Supporting green energy is a priority for the Bank as it addresses one of the country’s most pressing challenges. To address the issue further, the capital Skopje recently joined the EBRD Green Cities initiative.

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