To support a green and inclusive recovery from COVID-19 in Europe and Central Asia, IFC invested over $4.9 billion in the region in fiscal year 2021, which ended on June 30.
Up from $3.1 billion last year this year’s commitment mobilized over $2 billion from other investors and focused on driving the region’s transition to clean and renewable energy while tackling climate change, boosting competitiveness and productivity, promoting inclusion, and expanding digital transformation and connectivity. Climate finance represented over 40 percent of IFC’s own account long-term investments in the region.
IFC also supported $845 million in cross-border trade transactions in the region through 20 banks participating in its Global Trade Finance Program.
Since the start of the pandemic, IFC committed a total of $2.6 billion in COVID-related investments in ECA to help sustain economies and preserve jobs and livelihoods during the global crisis, including $796 million under the Fast-Track COVID-19 Facility.
IFC also implemented 76 advisory projects in the region, which focused on promoting sustainable practices in agriculture and infrastructure, improving access to digital financial services, helping companies enter global supply chains, and leveraging renewable energy development.
Georgina Baker, IFC Vice President for Europe, Central Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean, said: “During this trying year, we remained committed to promoting green, resilient, and inclusive development in Europe and Central Asia. IFC’s response to COVID-19 in the region focused on relief and restructuring to promote a sustainable recovery, ranging from addressing pressing liquidity challenges of our clients, to promoting investments in growth for the future, including in digital solutions.”
To drive the energy transition in the region and tackle climate change:
- IFC supported Ukrgasbank to boost access to sustainable financing in Ukraine. In addition, IFC’s partnership with Ukraine’s National Bank is helping the country shift to a low-carbon economy through the introduction of sustainable finance, with a focus on green financing and other sustainable solutions in line with the EU Green Deal and the EU Green Bond Standards.
- IFC invested in the first green bond to be issued by a financial institution in Romania, placed by Raiffeisen Bank S.A., to help boost climate finance. This was also IFC’s first investment in bonds expected to qualify for the European Union’s Minimum Requirement for own Funds and Eligible Liabilities. IFC also supported Romania’s UniCredit Leasing Corporation to increase access to finance for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), and to provide more climate finance to its clients across the country.
- To pave the way for greater renewable energy generation and diversification of the country’s energy mix, IFC, through the World Bank Group’s Scaling Solar program, helped the government of Uzbekistan with the first competitively tendered solar power public-private partnership (PPP) in the country for a photovoltaic solar park in the Navoi region, followed by two more solar PPPs in the Jizzakh and Samarkand regions.
To boost competitiveness and productivity:
- In Uzbekistan, IFC invested in Indorama Agro to improve the livelihoods of farmers and help promote the sustainable development of the county’s cotton sector through modern technologies and good international environmental and social practices.
- In Turkey, IFC provided a loan to Ford Otosan to expand production capacity and launch new vehicle models, including electric and hybrid versions, increasing the competitiveness and value-added exports of the automotive industry in the country. IFC also invested in a Diversified Payment Rights (DPR) issuance of DenizBank to help address the critical financing needs of the country’s underserved micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the agricultural sector while supporting the deepening and diversification of capital markets in Turkey.
- In Bulgaria, IFC provided financing to SOF Connect AD, the Sofia Airport concessionaire, supporting critical infrastructure and enabling increased international trade and tourism.
- In the Western Balkans, IFC launched a digital platform linking local manufacturers to investors, buyers, and suppliers, providing opportunities for local firms to connect with global supply chains and support regional economic recovery.
To promote inclusion:
- IFC helped expand access to finance for MSMEs amid the pandemic by financing Inecobank and Evocabank in Armenia, and KMF in Kazakhstan, to help keep companies afloat and protect jobs.
- In Kosovo, IFC expanded our partnership with TEB Sh.A., one of the country’s largest banks, and invested in the Agency for Finance in Kosovo (AFK), one of the country’s leading microfinance institutions, to support SMEs, in particular women-owned SMEs.
- In Poland, IFC invested in Avallon MBO Fund III to help close gaps in the lower mid-cap segment of the country’s private equity market, targeting in particular women-owned businesses.
- In Uzbekistan, IFC supported health care public-private partnerships (PPP) to help underserved citizens, including rural residents and children, receive equal access to better quality, safe health care.
To expand digital transformation and connectivity:
- Across the region, IFC supported the digital transformation of financial institutions by launching the DigiLab Finance program.
- In Bulgaria, IFC invested in the venture capital firm LAUNCHub Fund II, which aims to provide increased access to early-stage equity and operational value-add for technology start-ups in the region.
- In the Kyrgyz Republic, IFC provided a loan to ElCat LLC, the nation’s largest private wholesale broadband operator, to increase fiber coverage in underserved areas.
- In Ukraine, IFC helped the city of Zaporizhzhia introduce smart technologies and boost green transport via advisory and financing to implement a smart city platform and modernize its public transport system.