- EBRD invested €525 million in Moldova’s economy last year, a new record
- Investments supported energy security, upgrade of key infrastructure and SMEs
- EBRD support was crucial for nation significantly affected by the war on neighbouring Ukraine
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) invested a record €525 million in 14 projects in Moldova in 2022, providing crucial support to the small nation during a turbulent year caused by Russia’s war on Ukraine.
The Bank’s annual investment increased five-fold from its 2021 figures when it stood at €106 million, as Moldova struggled with high inflation and a global energy crisis caused by the fallout of the war, as well as an influx of refugees from neighbouring Ukraine.
The Bank’s Head of Moldova, Angela Sax, said: “The year 2022 was challenging for Moldova and the region, and the EBRD stepped up to the challenge. We have not only invested a record volume that provided a lifeline to the Moldovan economy, but also disbursed funds at a record rate, ensuring that our money went to the real economy and benefited regular Moldovans, who have been so significantly impacted by the war on Ukraine. I am proud of our commitment and determination to support Moldova’s economy, while also supporting reforms in critical sectors.”
Among the highlights of the EBRD’s activity last year were its efforts to help Moldova safeguard its energy security amidst rocketing energy prices. Moldova is highly dependent on imported natural gas from Russia via Ukraine, and the Bank lent the government €300 million to diversify its gas supplies away from Russian sources and procure supplies from European hubs. All of the €300 million has since been disbursed, ensuring a stable energy supply for millions of people.
In infrastructure, the Bank lent €100 million to further finance the rehabilitation of roads near its border with Ukraine, supporting regional integration and continued trade flows between Moldova, its traditional markets and the European Union.
The EBRD also significantly stepped up its activities in the banking sector. Its investment in financial institutions (FIs) more than doubled to €80 million in 2022, as the Bank extended new credit lines to three banks for on-lending to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
One of these included a €35 million credit line to Moldova’s largest bank, Maib, under the Bank’s Resilience and Livelihoods Framework. The credit line means that those companies in Moldova affected by the war on Ukraine can gain better access to financing from Maib. Backed by EU investment incentives, the Bank also increased lending for SMEs via partner banks under the EU4Business-EBRD credit line.
Recognising the importance of providing sound advice for both Moldovan and relocating Ukrainian businesses in a turbulent environment, the EBRD provided advisory services to 63 SMEs in Moldova through its Advice for Small Businesses programme.
As part of its response to the war, the Bank launched dedicated programmes to support relocating refugees, enabling them to improve their digital and financial skills, as well as providing advice on business relocation and registration in Moldova.
The Bank focused on furthering its strategic priorities of green, digital and inclusion in the SME sector, and 66 per cent of its advisory projects for SMEs had inclusion components, while 62 per cent had digital components.
In addition to strong investment and business advisory results, the Bank continued to engage in policy dialogue to support reform. Among these is the corporate governance improvement programme for the state-owned energy supplier JSC Energocom, which has transformed into a fully-fledged energy trader with increased transparency and standardisation of its procurement practices.
To date, the EBRD has invested more than €2 billion through 159 projects in Moldova.
Overall, it invested a record €13.1 billion in 2022, with 50 per cent invested in the green economy.