The FINANCIAL — The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is extending a €50 million financing package to Belinvestbank, the fourth largest bank in Belarus. The package will consist of two facilities: a €20 million line of credit to small businesses and the opening of a limit of up to €30 million available under the EBRD’s Trade Facilitation Programme (TFP).
The facilities are extended by the EBRD to Belinvestbank in the context of its planned privatisation which was agreed between the government of Belarus and the EBRD in May 2015. They are designed to strengthen Belinvestbank’s corporate governance and improve its commercial operation in line with best international practice.
Belinvestbank, which has a network of 44 regional branches across Belarus, will use the credit line to provide much needed loans with longer maturities to domestic small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This is especially important in Belarus, the country where SMEs are responsible for around 23 per cent of the national GDP, according to EBRD.
By participating in the Bank’s TFP programme, Belinvestbank will step up support to Belarusian exporters and importers. The TFP will equip Belinvestbank with an important financial instrument, which will help strengthen its capacity in trade finance and will give local businesses the support they need to increase foreign trade.
EBRD Managing Director for eastern Europe and the Caucasus Francis Malige said “Today’s signing is an important milestone we have reached together with Belarusian authorities and Belinvestbank’s management. It opens up the relationship with the bank, and will pave the way for further joint activity. Yet this success is only the first step towards achieving all objectives of the Memorandum of Understanding signed in May, so I am very much looking forward to a continued deep cooperation”.
The EBRD’s Trade Facilitation Programme promotes foreign trade to, from and within the EBRD countries of operations, including Belarus. Through the programme, the Bank provides guarantees to international confirming banks, taking the political and commercial payment risk of international trade transactions undertaken by banks in the countries of operations.
The EBRD is a major investor in Belarus. As of 1 October 2015 the Bank had invested €1.7 billion spread over 70 projects, most of which are in the private sector.