The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development concluded its 30th Annual Meeting this week with decisions on the Bank’s future work on the green transition and towards expanding its activities. The Board of Governors adopted a resolution aligning the Bank’s activities with the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change by end-2022 and stop investing in upstream oil and gas projects. The Bank’s shareholders “gave us a green light on the work plan to continue the exploratory work on possible limited and incremental expansion into sub-Saharan Africa and Iraq," EBRD President Odile Renaud-Basso said during a press conference on the final day of the event.
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In a statement on the climate resolution EBRD Managing Director Harry Boyd-Carpenter added: “We will no longer invest in upstream oil and gas projects. However, we will continue to finance select projects in the midstream and downstream sectors but only where those projects are aligned with, and significantly contribute to, the goals of the Paris Agreement.” This follows a pledge by the EBRD last year to raise the share of green investments in its investment activities to more than 50 per cent by 2025.
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EBRD President promises “full strength support to accelerate recovery”
In her opening speech at the Bank’s 30th Annual Meeting EBRD President Renaud-Basso pledged to increase support for the Covid-19 recovery and to step up the Bank’s work to tackle climate change. It was now time to “move from coping with the immediate crisis to planning and investing for the longer term,” she said.
This week’s event marked the EBRD’s 30th anniversary and the Bank offered participants a wide range of events discussing urgent issues such as climate change, the state of the economy and recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic. The event gathered prominent speaker such as US Climate Envoy John Kerry, EU Commission Vice President Frans Timmermans, UN Climate Envoy Mark Carney, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgiva, World Bank Chief Economist Carmen Reinhart and many more.
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EBRD raises growth forecast for its region
The EBRD raised its forecast for emerging economies in eastern Europe, Central Asia and northern Africa to 4.2 per cent growth in 2021, according to its latest Regional Economic Prospects report published this week. This is an upward revision for 2021 from the 3.6 per cent the Bank forecast for the year in its previous report in September 2020. For 2022, the EBRD expects further solid expansion with 3.9 per cent growth. The contraction in output in 2020 was also milder than previously forecast (2.3 per cent rather than 3.9 per cent) after improvements in the overall economic environment late last year due to strong exports and fiscal support. EBRD Chief Economist Beata Javorcik said: “Although the revised forecasts give reasons to be optimistic, huge uncertainty remains with regards to the path of the Covid-19 Delta variant which poses particularly large risks for countries that have made less progress on vaccinations and for economies highly reliant on international tourism.”
MDBs’ climate finance rose to US$ 66 billion in 2020, joint report shows
Climate finance committed by major multilateral development banks rose to a total of US$ 66 billion last year from US$ 61.6 billion in 2019, according to the 2020 Joint Report on Multilateral Development Banks’ Climate Finance. Of this, 58 per cent – or US$ 38 billion – was committed to low- and middle-income economies. The annual report is a key indicator on the progress MDBs are making on accelerating the delivery of climate finance, for which demand is clearly going to grow over time.
Support is key to helping EBRD partner financial institutions deal with climate risk, survey shows
Financial institutions in emerging economies show low adoption of comprehensive climate risk management and disclosures. Support by international partners and the regulatory framework will be key to helping them recognise and manage financial risks associated with climate change, a survey by the EBRD among partner financial institutions (PFIs) shows.
EBRD TFP Awards announced
The EBRD Trade Facilitation Programme (TFP) honoured its most successful partner banks in 2020 during the Bank’s Annual Meeting. The EBRD highlighted best industry practices and crisis responses to the global pandemic. The Bank also recognised the most successful banks under its Green Trade Facilitation Programme (Green TFP) with awards for their performance last year.
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EBRD honours clients’ sustainability work
The EBRD also presented its Sustainability Awards during the Annual Meeting to clients. Sustainability is at the heart of the EBRD’s operations and the awards recognise partner companies that are committed to ensuring sustainability as a key priority in their operations too.
Project signings and agreements
EBRD details investment in Giurgiuleşti International Free Port
The EBRD published details of its investment in Moldova’s Giurgiuleşti International Free Port, one of the country’s key strategic assets. To safeguard port operations and to safeguard and protect its financial interests, the EBRD became the sole ultimate legal owner of the operator of Giurgiulești Port on 7 May 2021. Through its acquisition, the EBRD aims to support the port’s continued operation and will seek to attract international investors to support and develop this key infrastructure asset.
Supporting Poland’s Polpharma
The EBRD is providing Polish largest pharmaceuticals producer Polpharma with a PLN 200 million (€45 million equivalent) loan for general and corporate purposes including in-house R&D activities, green investments and ESG strategy.
Investing in Anadolu Efes Eurobond
The EBRD invested US$ 40 million in a US$ 500 million Eurobond issued by Turkey’s Anadolu Efes Biracılık ve Malt Sanayii A.Ş (Anadolu Efes). With the EBRD’s help, Anadolu Efes is also planning to become more sustainable and create opportunities for women and youth. Learn more
Expanding climate finance in Turkey
Reinforcing its commitment to expanding climate finance in economies where it invests, the EBRD is providing €25 million in new funds to Ak Finansal Kiralama A.S. (Aklease) to finance green investments by SMEs in Turkey. The EBRD loan will enable the company to provide funding to eligible private-sector companies for investments in energy efficiency, water efficiency, waste minimisation and small-scale renewable energy.
Supporting green energy efficiency in Kosovo
More homeowners will be able to improve the energy efficiency of their households thanks to a new €2 million credit line extended by the EBRD to the Agency for Finance in Kosovo (AFK) to finance for investments in energy efficiency measures such as insulation, energy-efficient windows, heat pumps and solar panels. Borrowers will be eligible for cashback of up to 20 per cent of their total investment thanks to funding from the European Union (EU).
Supporting solid waste management in Tbilisi
The EBRD is extending a €3.03 million sovereign loan to the Municipality of Tbilisi City in Georgia for the upgrade of the leachate system at the city’s solid waste landfill. The upgrade applies to drainage collection of the liquid generated from rainfall and the natural decomposition of waste, so that it is properly removed from the landfill.
EBRD, EU, GCF expand funding for SMEs in Armenia
Armenia’s private sector will benefit from new resources for green financing thanks to a US$ 10 million financial package put together by the EBRD in cooperation with the EU and the Green Climate Fund (GCF) to facilitate the private sector’s transition to more sustainable, low-carbon and climate-resilient practices.
Supporting the dairy industry in Uzbekistan
The EBRD is increasing its support to small and medium-sized enterprises in Uzbekistan in partnership with its long-term financial intermediary Hamkorbank. The two institutions are financially contributing to the development of dairy sector in the Khorezm region responsible for the production of nearly 10 per cent of the national milk output.
Strengthening small businesses and trade in West Bank and Gaza
The EBRD is strengthening micro and small businesses and promoting international trade in the West Bank and Gaza, with a US$ 10 million financial package to Quds Bank. The package includes a credit line of up to US$ 5 million for MSMEs and corporates, providing them with vital liquidity to help mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Investing in first internationally issued bonds by Erste Croatia
The EBRD invested €80 million in bonds issued by Erste & Steiermärkische Bank d.d., the Croatian subsidiary of Austria’s Erste Group Bank AG, which are part of a €400 million international issuance listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange and marketed mainly to international institutional investors. The proceeds of the issuance will support the green agenda in Croatia.
Mark Bowman named EBRD Vice President, Policy and Partnerships
The EBRD named Mark Bowman as Vice President, Policy and Partnerships. He will start in his new position on 1 October and succeed Pierre Heilbronn,
Kazuhiko Koguchi becomes new EBRD Secretary General
Kazuhiko Koguchi has been appointed the new Secretary General of the EBRD in London. He will start in his new role on 1 August and succeed Enzo Quattrociocche, who is retiring from the Bank after 12 years in the role
Ayten Rustamova EBRD Regional Head Central Asia
Ayten Rustamova has been appointed EBRD Regional Head of the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. She will be based in Bishkek and assume her duties on 1 September 2021. She follows Neil McKain, who is returning to the Bank’s Headquarters in London.
Ekaterina Solovova leads EBRD operation in Albania
Ekaterina Solovova has taken up her position as Head of Albania for the EBRD. She will be based in the capital Tirana and follows Matteo Colangeli who is now Regional Head for the Western Balkans.
Rika Ishii new Head of Tajikistan
Rika Ishii has been appointed Head of Tajikistan for the EBRD. She will be based in the capital, Dushanbe and is due to take up her duties on 1 September 2021. She succeeds Ayten Rustamova.
Small Business Impact Fund Assembly
On Tuesday, the Bank hosted the Small Business Impact Fund Assembly, where participants had the chance to review the successes of joint initiatives in support of SMEs, discuss lessons learned and the strategic direction of the partnership. SME F&D's Ines Rocha noted that the SBIF has been a trailblazer for pooled, agile donor funds, and has enabled the Bank to support SMEs, which have been disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. The Fund is growing fast, having raised €59 million to date for 22 programmes.
Donor Assembly Meeting
Colleagues, guests and the donor community met on Wednesday for the main Annual Donor Meeting to discuss the common work during the past year as well as future plans and initiatives. EBRD Donor Co-Financing Director, Camilla Otto, highlighted donors’ crucial support to the Bank’s Covid-19 response. In 2020, the Bank mobilised €778 million in total as well as €75 million for EBRD-managed funds.
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New donor contributions:
The Netherlands made a generous €20 million contribution to catalyse green investments and help achieve the necessary impact to address the ongoing climate and environmental crisis.
Japan committed €1 million to the SBIF, which will go towards helping SMEs support green operations of their businesses.
South Korea committed €4 million to small and medium enterprises and start-ups through advisory services, businesses and the wider population in Early Transition Countries as well as other priority groups.
Italy committed €2 million to the SBIF to support SMEs in the Western Balkans, and €1m to launch a business matching programme for SME clients.
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