The European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) revealed a raft of new projects worth a combined US$360 million at its annual meeting in Cyprus last week.
Kazakhstan was the biggest beneficiary with a US$180 million loan to update its irrigation systems. Kazakhstan is the second biggest recipient of EBRD loans after Turkey, which accounts for more than 50 percent of the Bank’s investment.
EBRD president Suma Chakrabarti commented: “We used to lend around €250 million a year to Kazakhstan but three or four years ago it started reforming like anything and we are now allowed to go over €1 billion.”
The latest EBRD loan and a US$21.4 million grant from the state budget will finance new water connections and water meters, and facilitate the use of modern drip-irrigation technologies. These improvements will result in water-efficiency savings of at least 180 million cubic metres of water per year. According to preliminary estimates, such water access can help create up to 40,000 rural jobs across Kazakhstan.
The EBRD also announced a US$25 million loan to the Egyptian copper rods manufacturer United Metals Company (UMC) to support the company’s working capital, as well as a €25 million sovereign loan provided to the Sarajevo Canton Water and Wastewater Company to finance the reconstruction of the water supply network in Sarajevo.
A joint financing of US$30 million with the European Union and European Investment Bank is meanwhile expected support water and wastewater modernisation in the Kyrgyz Republic.
The remainder of the seven projects include €50 million extended towards The Lithuanian Public Investment Development Agency for energy efficiency and rehabilitation investments in apartment buildings.
Banca Transilvania will receive a €40 million loan, which will be on-lent to sub-borrowers in Romania such as households, housing associations and service providers for energy-saving investments.
Finally, around US$10 million credit line to Jordan Ahli Bank to bolster micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in Jordan.
The EBRD will also extend US$1million for technical assistance to reinforce Jordan Ahli Bank’s efforts to enhance SME lending, specifically for women, and facilitate the transfer of international best practice, knowledge and skills. Heike Harmgart, EBRD’s head of office in Jordan, said: “This sector is a priority for the EBRD as it is the backbone of the economy and generates employment opportunities for all segments of the population.”