The FINANCIAL — A new bank in Kosovo, BPB, has joined the energy efficiency financing programme of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
Under an agreement signed in Pristina today by EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti and Arton Celina, the Chief Executive Officer of BPB, the bank will receive a €1 million EBRD credit line for on-lending to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and individual households for energy efficiency and renewable energy investments. The credit line is extended under the EBRD’s Kosovo Sustainable Energy Projects framework (KoSEP).
EBRD President Chakrabarti said: “Green energy investments are key for the EBRD; we see combatting global climate change as one of our strategic priorities, and aspire to be a leader among multilateral institutions in engaging private banks in sustainable energy financing. I am very pleased that as of today, we have BPB as partner in this important area.”
Arton Celina, BPB CEO, said: “The Energy Efficiency Financing partnership we are signing today with the EBRD is an example of how we must approach development and creation of new opportunities to our clients focused on energy saving, which is considered to be one of the main topics in global discussions. Hence, I am truly privileged to put my signature to this agreement today. BPB is committed to providing its customers with the best products and services in the local financial market and we believe that the EBRD’s sustainable energy financing framework, KoSEP, is the right programme at the right time for investments on energy efficiency.”
BPB is one of two banks in Kosovo that are majority-owned by local investors. The EBRD, which has had a 10 per cent stake in the bank since 2011, has already cooperated with BPB, including in trade finance and small business lending. The EBRD also facilitated technical assistance for capacity building, particularly in the areas of corporate governance, risk management and internal controls, financed by the EBRD Western Balkans Fund, supported by international donors, according to European Bank.
The EBRD-run Kosovo Sustainable Energy Projects framework, launched in 2013, became the first financing programme in Kosovo for SME and residential energy efficiency and small-scale renewables.
EBRD’s Head of Operations in Kosovo, Elena Petrovska, says: “Kosovo is very energy-intensive while access to energy remains limited. We see a strong potential for energy efficiency improvements in the country. For this to happen, local banks need to start seeing the promise of sustainable energy projects and to provide longer-term funding. So we are very pleased that BPB – which has valuable expertise in lending to SMEs and households – has now joined this crucial programme, under which €11 million has already been made available to borrowers”.
With this signing, the EBRD has invested €204 million in 50 projects in Kosovo.
Promoting green energy in order to combat global climate change is one of the three key priorities of the EBRD under the Bank’s medium-term strategy that aims to re-energise growth in its countries of operations, promote regional integration and address global and regional challenges.