- EBRD Vice President Mark Bowman visits Moldova to discuss new Country Strategy for Moldova
- Bank’s support for Moldova focusses on energy security, private sector investment
- EBRD is Moldova’s biggest institutional investor
Mark Bowman, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)’s Vice President, Policy and Partnerships, discussed the EBRD’s latest five-year Country Strategy for Moldova with the country’s new leadership during a visit to Chisinau this week, pledging continued support, especially on energy security and private sector development, as Moldova shifts focus from crisis management to longer-term development.
Moldova, an EU candidate country, has suffered a year of economic shocks as a result of Russia’s war on neighbouring Ukraine and a winter full of energy sector challenges. But, with the impact of these crises beginning to subside, the cabinet of Prime Minister Dorin Recean, which took office in February, is stepping up plans for the complex reform and investment needed to move forward with its EU accession ambitions.
Last year, the EBRD offered Moldova unprecedented support by increasing its financing five-fold, to more than €500 million. This included a €300 million loan last June to diversify the country’s sources of gas and enable it to buy gas on the European spot market. Mr Bowman’s trip to Moldova follows a visit last week from the EBRD’s Matteo Patrone, Managing Director for Eastern Europe and the Caucasus.
“We are keen to develop our support from the emergency provision of last year to help you through a very difficult situation and focus on what we can do to increase the longer-term resilience of Moldova and its economy to put you in a better place to deal with future events, whatever they may be,” Mr Bowman told Prime Minister Recean during a meeting on Thursday
The EBRD’s three strategic priorities for Moldova in its 2023-28 Country Strategy are: strengthening energy resilience and security and promoting a greener economy; supporting competitive and inclusive private sector development, more resilient financial infrastructure and improved governance; and improving inclusive infrastructure delivery to support growth and enhance connectivity and trade.
The EBRD stands ready to offer more support on energy provision, including on strategic long-term planning to bring more renewables into Moldova’s energy mix – a shift which could be transformative for this import-dependent country.
The Bank has been supporting the government to establish a robust framework for renewable energy auctions for utility-scale solar and onshore wind projects. Once this framework is in place, the Bank will continue supporting the government to implement the auctions.
Also on Thursday, Mr Bowman signed a grant and a loan agreement, consolidating the EBRD’s strong start to 2023 in Moldova and showing Moldova’s positive direction of travel.
The donor fund signing confirmed a grant of €5.6 million from the Eastern Europe Energy Efficiency and Environment Partnership (E5P) to go with loans made by the EBRD and European Investment Bank of €25 million each for Moldova’s first multi-region solid waste management project.
The loan agreement was with ProCredit Bank Moldova. It was for a €10 million loan to support investment financing for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in Moldova to carry out upgrades in line with EU standards, increase competitiveness and grasp international trade opportunities, and was part of the EBRD’s partnership with the European Union under the EU4Business-EBRD Credit Line.
While in Chisinau, Mr Bowman met government officials including Economy Minister and the EBRD’s governor for Moldova Dumitru Alaiba, Finance Minister Veronica Sireteanu, Foreign Minister Nicu Popescu, Infrastructure Minister Liliana Dabija, the government’s General Secretary Artur Mija, head of the Public Property Agency Alexandr Musteata, and Octavian Armasu, Governor of the National Bank of Moldova and the EBRD’s alternate governor for Moldova.
He also held talks with representatives of other international financial organisations, Moldovan banks and civil society organisations, and met Chisinau-based investment partners.
The EBRD, Moldova’s largest institutional investor and present in the country for the past three decades, has invested €2 billion in the country, much of it to support infrastructure as well as stabilise the banking sector.
Together with the European Commission and other international partners, the EBRD is also investing in the EU-Ukraine Solidarity Lanes, strengthening key regional transport routes and strengthening the trade links connecting Ukraine and Moldova with the EU. The Bank is also actively contributing to the multilateral Moldova Support Platform (MSP), providing concrete political, financial and technical assistance to help it overcome the challenges it faces, particularly those resulting from the war.