EBRD newsletter - Friday 26 March

By EBRD  Press Office
@ebrd

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EBRD to resume investing in Czech Republic following Covid-19 pandemic

The EBRD is to resume investment in the Czech Republic. The Bank’s Board of Directors approved a request by the Czech government to help with recovery from the Covid-19 crisis.

The EBRD’s re-engagement will be temporary and not exceed a period of up to five years. It will be limited in scope and focused on the private sector. It will complement support provided by the European Investment Bank and the European Union (EU).

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Charlotte Ruhe, EBRD Managing Director for Central, Eastern and South Eastern Europe, set out the Bank’s remit in an interview with the national news agency CTK. The Bank will be available to support innovative small businesses, for instance, with strengthening the development of the local capital market and support the country’s green transition. The interview was widely reported by all major news organisation.

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EBRD President Renaud-Basso in Ukraine

In her first official visit in person to a country where the EBRD invests, President Odile Renaud-Basso spent two days in Ukraine on Monday and Tuesday for meetings with President Volodymyr Zelensky, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal as well as other government and business leaders. The discussions focused on the reforms needed to unlock investment by the EBRD and other investors as well as the post-Covid-19 recovery.

In Kyiv, President Renaud-Basso also spoke at the virtual launch of the National Economic Strategy for Ukraine 2030.

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The President told the national news agency UNIAN about the Bank’s plans for Ukraine and added: “In my view, Ukraine should stay focused on the reform agenda and seize the opportunity to build a greener future. On green, it means defining a long-term path towards carbon neutrality, which could guide decisions in the coming years. The EBRD is ready to invest even more towards the green transition of the economy, especially in Ukrainian cities, to develop modern public transportation or waste management investments”.

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EBRD Board in first virtual visit to Croatia

Representatives of the EBRD Board of Directors paid their first virtual country visit this week to Croatia. The consultation allowed shareholder representatives to meet with policymakers, businesses and civil society organisations.

The EBRD Board representatives met with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Zdravko Marić, who is also EBRD Governor, State Secretaries Željko Uhlir and Sanja Bošnjak, National Bank Governor Boris Vujčić, representatives of the banking sector, utilities and private-sector clients. The national news agency HINA reported.

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EBRD seeks to safeguard operations of Moldova’s Giurgiulesti port

The EBRD is enforcing rights under its financing and security documents with regards to Danube Logistics, the operator of Giurgiulesti International Free Port in the Moldova. The EBRD is seeking to prevent any attempt to redirect funds out of Danube Logistics as a result of the external administration imposed on the company, due to concerns that it will put the company in severe financial difficulties.

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EBRD supports development of online courts for small claims

Addressing the need to safeguard a vital public service for businesses, the EBRD is launching a pilot project to assist countries in the development of online courts for small claims. While the coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated the urgency of this issue, access to courts has been a longstanding concern in many economies where the EBRD invests.

The EBRD pilot aims to develop a framework and to make it available to countries in the Western Balkans, Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia. A first trial is envisaged for Ukraine, supported by the Ukraine multi donor account.

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How to value and preserve water

Water, the source of life - celebrated this week on World Water Day – is under pressure from climate change. With some regions becoming drier and others ever more exposed to flooding, the need to find and share new ways to husband this vital resource, and measure its value so it can be built into economic development and work creation strategies, is intensifying.

This is why one of the new areas in the EBRD’s expanded green planning for the half-decade to 2025, as it moves towards making a majority of its investments green, is looking at how best to invest in natural capital, from soil and sustainable land management to water and water ecosystems.

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Celebrating World Water Day

The EBRD asked colleagues, clients and partners to share what they think of water and its importance.

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Project signings

Investing in Turkish fintech firm DgPays

The EBRD is providing a fresh boost to Turkey's technology sector by investing in DgPays, a leading digital payment system provider, alongside Goldman Sachs, the global investment bank. The deal is subject to regulatory approval to support the company’s plans to expand its product and service offerings and to introduce new high-tech products, such as open banking. 

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Backing real estate portfolio of Ukraine’s Dragon Capital

The EBRD is supporting the development of low-emission sustainable property by providing financing to the real estate portfolio of Ukraine’s investment company Dragon Capital with a US$ 12.5 million loan for the refurbishment of an office building in Kyiv with 9,000 square metre gross lettable area (GLA) and the acquisition of two warehouses in Kyiv and Kharkiv with a total GLA of 26,000 square metres.

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Donor news

Improving water and wastewater treatment in Subotica

Subotica, one of the few cities in Serbia with proper wastewater infrastructure, is benefiting from a joint initiative by the EBRD, the EU and the bilateral donors of the Western Balkans Investment Framework to modernise the local treatment plant and construct a sludge line. The upgrade helped to improve the quality of Subotica’s wastewater disposal and treatment services. It also allowed the city to bring coverage to 60 per cent of inhabitants. In addition, the new wastewater plant has the technological capacity to produce energy from waste and currently produces 25 to 40 per cent of its own energy needs.

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Strengthening climate resilience in Serbia

The EBRD and FAO are helping Serbia’s agriculture become more resilient to climate change by increasing the country's irrigation capacity. A national irrigation strategy and a 5-year action plan is in the making, mapping priority investments for the next 10 years, with support from EBRD donors, Israel, Italy and CEI.

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Helping Georgian apple grower achieve fruitful results

In Georgia, Agrogori benefitted from the EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line, which provides small businesses with much-needed financing to upgrade their facilities to European standards in order to produce high quality goods and services for customers at home and abroad. AgroGori is an apple grower committed to EU standards and was established in 2014. Today it harvests up to 1,000 tonnes of apples per season. And the secret of its success? An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

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Kazakhstan's Tea Center accelerates growth through business advice

When the owners of Tea Center approached the EBRD in 2017, they had a rapidly growing but comparatively unstructured tea production business. The family-run company operated in a cluttered warehouse with no clear development plans and a product portfolio that was too large. Two years later, thanks to an international advisory project with the EBRD funded by the Kazakh government, Tea Center had developed a detailed strategy, a new budgeting system and a leaner production facility for their rebranded products. As a result, sales increased by 35 per cent and profit grew by over 50 per cent.

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EBRD in the news

Andreea Moraru, EBRD Regional Head of Greece & Cyrpus, spoke to Greece’s news website Liberal about the Bank’s investments in Greece, support for green projects, infrastructure, small business and the banking sector: “We are very happy to support the Greek economy. Our work in the country was launched in 2015 to help with the country's reforms and economic development and we are very proud to have contributed more than €4.3 billion so far. EBRD uses its experience and know-how to attract and encourage foreign and domestic investment, as well as to strengthen the private sector's role in promoting green growth."

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The EBRD on social media

President Odile Renaud Basso used her LinkedIn account to sum up her trip to Ukraine.

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The Bank trailed a special 30th anniversary OCE EconTalk with four EBRD Chief Economists, past and present.

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