EBRD newsletter - Friday 19 March

By EBRD  Press Office
@ebrd

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EBRD President Renaud-Basso pays first official visit to Serbia

EBRD President Odile Renaud-Basso used the occasion of her first official visit to Serbia this week to underline the Bank’s commitment to the country: “We will discuss how we can continue to work together on further modernising, digitalising and greening the Serbian economy to yield an inclusive economic growth and enhance competitiveness”, she said before virtual meetings with the government and the private sector.

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The virtual visit also marked 20 years of Serbia’s membership in the EBRD as well as record investments in 2020. During this period the Bank has invested more than €6.6 billion in the country, supporting all sectors of the economy and becoming a pioneer in renewables.

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In an interview with the leading Serbian daily Politika, the EBRD President talked about the country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, the EBRD’s support and future challenges. “With its timely response Serbia softened the impact of the crisis on the economy,” she said.

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EBRD President meets President of Moldova

On Wednesday, EBRD President Odile Renaud-Basso had a virtual meeting with the new President of Moldova, Maia Sandu. The leaders discussed the banking sector and the business environment in Moldova and how the EBRD can further support the country’s private sector and promotion of European standards.

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EBRD launches Women in Business- programme in West Bank and Gaza

The EBRD launched its successful Women in Business-programme in West Bank and Gaza this week. The Bank teamed up with Bank of Palestine to empower Palestinian women entrepreneurs to grow their businesses and increase their participation in the local market. The EBRD is providing a US$ 15 million financing package to support local SMEs, including US$ 2 million dedicated to financing women entrepreneurs.

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Local media extensively covered the launch, emphasising the benefit the programme will bring to the local economy which is dominated by small and medium-sized enterprises. The Palestinian News Network quoted EBRD President Odile Renaud-Basso as saying: “Supporting women’s role in the economy is crucial for sustainable and inclusive development.”

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Launching a new phase of EU4Business – EBRD credit line

The EBRD together with the European Union launched the third phase of the EU4Business - EBRD credit line this week to support small businesses in the Eastern Partnership region to become competitive, green and resilient. From manufacturing to agriculture, the partnership has already helped nearly 700 SMEs across all sectors and created 31.000 jobs.

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EBRD, UK and Jordan launch private investment drive

The EBRD, the UK Government’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office and the Jordan Investment Commission are partnering to promote foreign direct investment in Jordan as a key source of economic growth and development. The investment promotion project launched by these institutions will aim to attract investment from the Jordanian diaspora, investors based in the Gulf, the UK and other international markets.

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Project signings

Supporting Lithuania’s retailer Maxima in €40 mn commercial paper issuance

In Lithuania, the EBRD jointly with the leading local retail chain Maxima Grupė (Maxima) has introduced a new financial product to the Baltic markets: The EBRD invested €4.2 million in a €40 million issuance of commercial paper (CP) by Maxima, the first issuance of such securities in the region. CPs are short-term unsecured notes issued by companies with a fixed-term maturity and used to address short-term liquidity or working capital needs. Demands for such alternative sources of finance are rapidly increasing in face of the current coronavirus pandemic.

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Expanding Ukraine’s Kokhavynska Paper Factory

In Ukraine, the EBRD is supporting local paper producer Kokhavynska Paper Factory with a €13.8 million loan that will aim to expand the company’s product range, increase the production capacity and improve its operating efficiency.

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Launch of energy efficiency programme for homes in Montenegro

In Montenegro, the EBRD launched a Green Economy Financing Facility (GEFF) that will provide loans to households for energy efficiency improvements. The programme is supported by funds from the European Union, the Western Balkans Investment Framework and Austria. Crnogorska Komercijalna Banka (CKB) joined the programme as the first domestic lender with a credit line of €2 million.

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Boosting Egyptian private companies and trade

In Egypt, the EBRD is supporting the local economy with a US$ 100 million financing package to Banque du Caire for trade financing and on-lending to micro-, small and medium-sized enterprises. The loan will boost the support for Egypt’s real economy, especially vital private small businesses.

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Small businesses in Uzbekistan to benefit from EBRD financing

In Uzbekistan, the EBRD is providing financing to local SMEs through the country’s oldest lender Uzpromstroybank (UzPSB) with a loan of up to US$ 25 million under the Bank’s Resilience Framework designed to tackle the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Donors

How to turn a supermarket green

The EBRD and its donors are helping Ukrainian supermarket chain Silpo adopt innovative technologies thanks to a US$ 60 million loan, supported by the EBRD’s Finance and Technology Transfer Centre for Climate Change (FINTECC) programme, with a grant provided by the Global Environment Facility (GEF). It will go towards opening or renovating 41 Silpo supermarkets, including the new green store, as well as 29 Fora convenience stores, with a focus on energy- and resource-efficient technologies.

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Helping Serbia’s Bel-Plast to become more energy efficient

The Serbian foils and films producer Bel-Plast joined the EBRD and EU-funded Competitiveness Support Programme that offers SMEs access to credit lines through local partner financial institutions and acquired a loan for a new production line. The loan combined with EBRD advisory support helped the company make significant cost savings by producing more in less time and improve energy efficiency, using 100 per cent virgin materials.

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EBRD in the news

Serbia

In addition to EBRD President Odile Renaud-Basso’s media engagements around her virtual visit to Serbia, EBRD Regional Director and Head of Serbia, Zsuzsanna Hargitai, was a guest of the Morning Show at RTS1, national Serbian TV. She spoke about the EBRD’s record investment year in the country and plans for future investment focusing on transition from coal and strengthening green economy and digitalisation.

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On Twitter

Ms Hargitai also had an interview with TV Pannon, Serbian TV in Hungarian language, where she covered EBRD’s impact in the Western Balkans region and Serbia in particular.

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Turkey

Roger Kelly, EBRD Lead Regional Economist for Turkey, spoke to Anadolu Agency about the Turkish economy. He pointed out that the country’s economy has been resilient to the Covid-19 crisis and tends to rapidly recover from shocks. "This is something we saw in 2009 following the global financial crisis, and also in 2016, following the coup attempt. Certainly, we saw the same thing last year when the economy bounced back quickly from the coronavirus shock," he said.

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Ukraine

EBRD Chief Economist Beata Javorcik commented on the Ukrainian economy for the German business daily Handelsblatt, saying: “Since 2014 Ukraine has implemented wide-ranging reforms, despite extraordinary security, political and economic circumstances. The country has made a noticeable progress. However, the unfinished reform agenda is a serious liability on economic development. Progress is needed in key areas of governance such as anti-corruption reform, judicial reform, privatisation of state owned enterprises, public administration reform and digitalisation of public sector services.”

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Kazakhstan

Eric Livny, EBRD Lead Regional Economist for Central Asia, spoke to Forbes Kazakhstan about the economic recovery of Kazakhstan, emphasising that more needs to be done to re-energise growth.

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EBRD in social media

 

We highlighted our partnership with WTO supporting the tourism sector in Jordan 

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We celebrated another St. Patrick’s Day under lockdown!

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We also highlighted our support for a Georgian apple grower.

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