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EBRD newsletter 04 June

By EBRD  Press Office

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EBRD President pays first visit to Morocco

EBRD President Odile Renaud-Basso made her first official visit to Morocco in a virtual format on 24 and 25 May. She held high-level meetings with the Moroccan authorities, the business community and civil society. Meetings focused on Morocco’s post-Covid-19 recovery and EBRD investments to support it.

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In an interview with the newspaper Aujourd’Hui le Maroc, the EBRD President said: “The EBRD’s new strategic framework focuses on three main priorities, namely the strengthening of social cohesion and the reduction of regional disparities for an inclusive growth, the facilitation of a private sector led economy by improving competitiveness and supporting Morocco's governance reform programme as well as increasing the transition to the green economy through more sustainable energy and infrastructure.”

Op-ed: How the glass ceiling survived the pandemic

In an op-ed for the news magazine Politico, EBRD Chief Economist Beata Javorcik commented on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and the changes in the workplace on gender equality. Based on recent data from around the world, she finds: “If anything, gender equality has worsened for working women under Covid-19.”

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“The Return of the State”

Saviour or villain? The Festival Economia Trento discussed the role of the state in business, communities and institutions following the coronavirus pandemic. EBRD Chief Economist Beata Javorcik spoke about the implications of recent developments for economies, especially those which used to be state-controlled. In an interview with the Italian daily Corriere della Sera she said: “The state can play a positive role in cushioning shocks and promoting economic growth. (…) But there is also a dark side to banks and state-owned enterprises. They are often used for political purposes.

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Solving Ukraine’s short-term crises, exploiting its long-term opportunities

Matteo Patrone, EBRD Managing Director for Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, published an essay in The Kyiv Post assessing Ukraine’s short-term challenges and long-term opportunities, He wrote: “The quality of good governance is a key determinant of differences in economic performance between and within countries. This quality has become more critical given the increase in state involvement in the economy in response to the Covid-19 crisis. Ukraine is certainly no exception, and we are redoubling our efforts to stabilize and bolster corporate governance reform, in close collaboration with other international partners.

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EBRD Board on virtual visit to Jordan

Representatives of the EBRD Board of Directors paid a virtual visit to Jordan this week. The visit allowed the shareholder representatives to meet policymakers, businesses and civil society organisations. The discussions focused on efforts to overcome the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on the Jordanian economy.

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Boosting financial innovation in Greece

Greek companies will now have the opportunity to test innovative financial products and services thanks to the Bank of Greece’s new regulatory sandbox, launched in Athens this week. The project was implemented in collaboration with the EBRD and funded by the EU through its Structural Reform Support programme.

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The King of Warsaw wins the EBRD Literature Prize 2021

The King of Warsaw, a novel written by Szczepan Twardoch and translated from Polish by Sean Gasper Bye, has won the EBRD Literature Prize 2021. The prize, awarded for the fourth time this year, celebrates the very best in translated literature from the regions in Europe. Asia and Africa where the Bank invests.

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Watch the Facebook Live

EBRD President announces the winner of the Literature Prize 2021

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Project signings

Boosting climate action with new US$ 1 billion programme

The EBRD and the Green Climate Fund (GCF) are strengthening their cooperation by launching a new US$ 1.01 billion “High impact programme for the corporate sector” targeting the energy-intensive industries, agribusinesses and the mining sector of Armenia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Morocco, Serbia, Tunisia and Uzbekistan.

EBRD President Odile Renaud-Basso and GCF Yannick Glemareck signed the agreement during their first official virtual meeting.

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Helping Indorama introduce advanced cotton farming technologies in Uzbekistan

In Uzbekistan, the EBRD is supporting the modernisation of agriculture and enhanced economic opportunities for the local population with a financing package of up to US$ 70 million to Indorama Agro. The loan is supported by the EBRD’s Finance and Technology Transfer Centre for Climate Change (FINTECC) programme, which helps companies in participating EBRD economies to implement innovate climate technologies and is financed by the Global Environment Facility Trust Fund.

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Supporting residential energy efficiency in North Macedonia…

In North Macedonia, thanks to a new EBRD €2 million credit line to Ohridska Banka more homeowners will be able to invest in domestic energy efficiency improvements such as insulation, windows, heat pumps and solar panels.

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…and in Serbia

More than 2,200 homeowners have improved the energy efficiency of their homes in Serbia with support from dedicated green loans, and many more will be able to do so thanks to a new RSD 1.2 billion credit line (€10 million equivalent) provided by the EBRD to Erste Bank in the country.

Both financings in North Macedonia and Serbia are part of a larger €135 million Green Economy Financing Facility (GEFF) programme for the Western Balkans, which supports energy-efficient solutions to build a greener and sustainable economy. The programme is supported by the European Union (EU), the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF) and the Austrian Federal Ministry of Finance.

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Promoting environmental improvements in western Kazakhstan

In Kazakhstan, nearly 300,000 inhabitants of the city of Atyrau will enjoy major environmental benefits thanks to an upgrade of the wastewater treatment facilities at the local oil refinery, financed by a US$ 80 million-equivalent loan from the EBRD. For the regional hub the investment will result in major environmental improvements.

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EBRD and EU joining forces to boost Tunisian SMEs’ export potential

The EBRD and the EU are joining forces to strengthen growth opportunities for Tunisian small businesses with a new €7.25 million export programme called Insadder. The initiative aims to boost the export potential of local enterprises by helping them to enter and compete successfully on external markets.

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EBRD and NBE support small businesses in Egypt

SMEs in Egypt will benefit from a US$ 100 million loan by the EBRD to National Bank of Egypt to support energy efficiency, climate change mitigation and the introduction of adaptation technologies.

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Boosting competitiveness of SMEs in North Macedonia

In North Macedonia, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will be able to access €4 million to become more competitive with the help of a new EBRD loan extended to Ohridska Banka. SMEs can also obtain technical assistance, including EBRD advisory support. After successfully completing their investment, they will also be eligible for a cashback grant of 15 per cent of the total loan amount, funded by EU.

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Donors update

How to reduce energy consumption in Serbia?

Thanks to solar panels financed with a loan under the EBRD’s Green Energy Finance Facility and EU grants for energy efficiency, the house of Nikola Rađenović from Belgrade is now completely powered by solar energy. The assistance and grants are supported by the European Union (EU), the Austrian Federal Ministry of Finance and the Western Balkans Investment Framework (WBIF).

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EBRD in the news

Egypt, EBRD discuss Alexandria metro project

Egypt’s Transport Minister Kamel al-Wazir met with EBRD officials to discuss transportation initiatives, including the Alexandria metro project. The project’s total cost stands at €1.5 billion, €250 million of which came from the EBRD. Study, design and bidding documents are currently being prepared for the project’s tender. 

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BCR's bonds start trading at Bucharest Stock Exchange

Senior non-preferred bonds issued by Banca Comerciala Romana (BCR), Romania's second-biggest lender by assets, worth RON 1 billion (€200 million), will start trading on the Bucharest Stock Exchange's main market. The EBRD placed RON 300 million (€60 million).

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EBRD on social media

The Paris Alignment methodology paper is out for consultation

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Is the future of work already here? Listen to the EBRD’s latest podcast with Beata Javorcik, Kerrie Law, Jonathan Charles and Jason Furman.

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This year’s World Environment Day, officially celebrated on 5 June, focuses on ecosystem restoration, an important aspect of a healthy world. The EBRD’s work with the Northern Dimension Environmental Partnership shows how this can be successfully achieved.

The Bank manages an environmental fund to help restore the ecosystems in both the Baltic and Barents Sea, established by the EU and Finland and which now includes 12 other donors.

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