EBRD calls for an increase in rail investment in the Western Balkans
The EBRD issued an appeal for more investment in the region’s railway sector to address the climate change emergency and improve connectivity at the first Western Balkans Rail Summit in Belgrade this week.
The event – jointly organised by the EBRD, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Transport Community – was dedicated to enhancing the integration of the Western Balkans’ rail system with the EU’s rail system.
“Together with the EU and EIB, we are strongly committed to continue to provide well-structured and affordable finance for the development of railways as a sustainable, greener and safer means of transport in the Western Balkans,” EBRD Managing Director, Sustainable Infrastructure Group, Nandita Parshad said.
In an interview with EURACTIV ahead of the summit, EBRD First Vice President Jurgen Rigterink said the Bank would continue to work with state-owned railways, private investors, clients, and governments in the region to materialise these priorities: “The EBRD has an ambitious agenda in the region to improve the quality of services and train speeds throughout the railway network. The plan is to extend the Trans-European Transport Network in line with EU standards, while strengthening the capacity for preparing and implementing projects accordingly, improving management, safety and maintenance,”
EBRD President on the Bank’s role in facing Covid-19 and the climate emergency
In a wide-reaching interview with the French radio station Radio Classique EBRD President Odile Renaud-Basso discusses the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the EBRD’s countries of operations and the Bank’s response, the global efforts to address the climate emergency and the Bank’s contribution, the Bank’s current strategic priorities and a possible geographic expansion of its activities. She said: “At the core of our mandate is the mobilisation of the private sector to support the economic transformation of the countries where we operate.”
Watch here (in French)
EBRD and EU boost Ukrainian “climate innovators”
The EBRD and the EU are extending new grants to help innovative Ukrainian firms seeking to improve climate resilience with new approaches. Six Ukraine-based companies received climate innovation vouchers during an award ceremony in the presence of Virginijus Sinkevičius, European Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries. The prize covers 75 per cent of the eligible costs (up to €50,000) of pioneering solutions and technologies implemented by these private firms to address climate change.
EBRD celebrates 15 years in Mongolia
The EBRD this week marked 15 years since the start of its operations in Mongolia and the establishment of its resident office in Ulaanbaatar. To date, the Bank has invested US$ 2.1 billion in the national economy, with 93 per cent in the private sector making the EBRD the largest lender of all IFIs to Mongolia’s private sector. The EBRD Head of Mongolia, Hannes Takacs, posted a group photo with the words: “Amazing team in an amazing country!”
EBRD adopts new country strategies
The EBRD has adopted new country strategies for the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Montenegro.
Promoting green economy transition and fostering knowledge economy are the two main priorities for Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
Focusing on supporting the green and inclusive economic recovery from the Covid-19 crisis is the main priority for the Czech Republic, while strengthening private sector competitiveness, supporting green economy transition, and fostering connectivity and integration are the main priorities for Montenegro.
Read more about the strategies:
Estonia | Latvia | Lithuania | Czech Republic | Montenegro
Pierre Heilbronn says “Goodbye, Sarajevo”
In a valedictory interview with the Reuters news agency EBRD Vice President Pierre Heilbronn took stock of the Bank’s activities and achievements in the Western Balkans during his tenure: "Connectivity, green and competitiveness are the three overarching priorities for us," he said. "Making progress in how state-owned enterprises are run would open up interest of foreign investors" who have been largely absent from the region. The EBRD invested €1.3 billion in the Western Balkans in 2020 and will match that amount this year, Mr Heilbronn said.
EBRD names Huseyin Özhan Director for Kazakhstan
The EBRD has appointed Hüseyin Özhan appointed Director for Kazakhstan, based in the country’s largest city Almaty. He said: “For the EBRD, Kazakhstan is a key country, where a lot can be done in areas such as renewable energy, digitalisation and regional connectivity. I am looking forward to working with our counterparts in the public and private sectors to promote green, inclusive and sustainable projects addressing the key challenges of our time, namely, the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and tackling climate change.”
Project signings and agreements
EBRD lends support to Electric Networks of Armenia
The EBRD is providing a loan of US$ 70 million, including a B-loan from the Netherlands Development Finance Company (FMO), to Electric Networks of Armenia (ENA), the country’s sole electricity distribution company and long-standing client of the Bank. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is co-financing this project with a US$ 35 million loan. The funding will support the large-scale modernisation of the power distribution network in Armenia.
Supporting the modernisation of Serbia’s Elektrodistribucija
The EBRD is extending a €40 million loan to Serbia’s electricity distribution company Elektrodistribucija Srbije (EDS) to finance the roll-out of smart metering infrastructure, such as the installation of software and hardware, and integration of the new system. The investment will improve the security and reliability of the power supply, reduce commercial losses and improve tariff collection rates. Around 205,000 smart meters are expected to be installed in the cities of Kraljevo, Čačak and Niš.
Strengthening access to local currency loans for SMEs in Serbia
The EBRD is supporting the post-pandemic recovery of the Serbian economy by securing financing for small businesses (SMEs) by extending a RSD 2.9 billion local currency loan (€24.7 million equivalent) to Eurobank Serbia. The credit line will help expand lending to private businesses through working-capital lines and investment loans to SMEs, including those operating in economically less-developed regions of the country.
Financing 6th of October Dry Port in Egypt under EBRD Green Cities
The EBRD is supporting the construction of the first inland dry port in Egypt, in 6th of October City, with a €25 million loan to October Dry Port Company. The development and construction of the port is the first public-private partnership project in the sector and the first under the EBRD Green Cities programme in Egypt.
Supporting upgrade of municipal vehicle fleet in Tbilisi
The EBRD is extending a €9.6 million sovereign loan to Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, for the upgrade of the city’s municipal services vehicle fleet. The financing is provided under the Green Cities Framework 2 and a follow-on investment from an earlier phase in which the Bank financed the renewal of the city’s solid-waste collection fleet and transfer station.
EBRD and EU support better waste management in Ulaanbaatar
Across Mongolia, the connection of people to their environment is a very special one, deeply rooted in the local culture.
But the environment has been facing some difficult challenges in recent years, mostly because of the rapid development of the capital city, Ulaanbaatar. The EBRD is working with the EU to reduce pollution and increase quality of life in Mongolia’s capital
Helping Mongolia’s leading furniture manufacturer go international
The EBRD’s Women in Business programme, funded by the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi), has helped the Mongolian furniture maker Ganbros to keep bankruptcy at bay and transform itself into a regional competitor with a foothold in Russian and Chinese markets.
Cleaning up Central Asia’s uranium mining legacy
The EBRD-managed Environmental Remediation Account for Central Asia (ERA) is close to complete the first remediation projects at two critical sites in the Kyrgyz Republic. The fund was initiated by the European Union and so far has received contributions from Belgium, Norway, Spain, Switzerland and the United States of America. The work on the ground is delivered in cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency.
EBRD and EU make life sweet for Moldova’s pastry maker Panilino
The Moldovan pastry company Panilino delivers on its promise to bring back childhood memories.
Cakes, rolls, biscuits and traditional sweet bread allow you to travel back in time to cosy family gatherings, conjuring up feelings of nostalgia and happy memories. Panilino has long won the hearts and taste buds of the Moldovan customers. Now the company is expanding its markets with support from the EBRD and the European Union (EU).
EBRD in social media
The Western Balkans Rail Summit was the main topic on social platforms on Monday with some beautiful pictures from Kosovo railroads.
We talked about the cleaning up of the uranium legacy at Min Kush with our ERA video.
The head of the CIimate Investment Funds (CIF), Mafalda Duarte, shared our article on solar energy.
The President of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, highlighted his meeting with our President last week.
One of this week’s main topics was 15 years of the EBRD in Mongolia
We also honoured some of our best ASB clients from Mongolia.
We highlighted our new country strategies for Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Czech Republic and Montenegro
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