The FINANCIAL — The EBRD hit ambitious targets for climate finance well ahead of schedule in 2017 and its total annual investment reached a new record high, as the Bank delivered positive change across a growing number of emerging economies.
Financing for the green economy rose from €2.8 billion in 2016 to €4.1 billion, accounting for 43 per cent of total financing in 2017. The Bank had pledged, ahead of the 2015 Paris Agreement, to devote 40 per cent of its financing to green investment by 2020. This goal has been met three years early.
For the EBRD, 2017 was another year of rising investment and delivery – the fourth since 2014. Total annual EBRD financing across all economic sectors rose to a new record of €9.7 billion in 2017, from €9.4 billion in 2016. The number of individual EBRD projects in 2017 rose to a new high of 412, from 378 in 2016, according to the EBRD.
The EBRD is well equipped for future challenges and expects to report another set of strong profits for 2017. The Bank’s financial results will be announced once they are finalised.
EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti said: “The Bank’s performance in 2017 bolsters our already strong foundations and our capacity to manage both the challenges and the opportunities ahead. We are in excellent operational health and have every reason to look to the future with confidence.”
Notable green economy projects in 2017 included financing for the largest solar site in Africa, in Benban, Egypt. The EBRD’s solar energy work in Egypt won the Thomson Reuters Project Finance International Global Award for Multilateral Deal of the Year.
At the One Planet climate summit in Paris on 12 December 2017, the EBRD pledged to step up its climate finance activities even further.
Against a backdrop of increasingly urgent calls to slow the pace of global warming, the EBRD also unveiled plans to increase climate financing for cities and earmarked US$ 100 million for investment in the world’s largest green-bond fund.
In addition, the EBRD expanded into new economies in 2017, with Lebanon becoming a recipient country. The EBRD agreed to start investing in the West Bank and Gaza and announced a re-engagement in Uzbekistan, leading already to a number of investments.
2017 saw the launch of the EBRD’s Economic Inclusion Strategy, a reflection of the Bank’s increasing focus on those members of society who are often left on the margins of economic progress.
The EBRD increased its support for women-led firms through its successful Women in Business programme, which has now reached more than 35,000 female entrepreneurs, providing finance of over €400 million in partnership with 30 financial institutions across 17 countries.
In Turkey alone, the Bank has helped over 15,000 female entrepreneurs to grow their businesses under a programme spearheaded by the EBRD, the European Union and the Turkish government.
Underscoring a commitment to reach more deeply into its countries of operations, the EBRD opened regional offices in Alexandria in Egypt, Tangier in Morocco and Odessa in Ukraine.
The EBRD continued to play an important role in the Western Balkans, with an emphasis on connectivity projects aimed at improving the business environment within a Regional Economic Area that will help unleash the region’s economic potential.
It also took important steps to make economies more resilient across the wider region of central-eastern and south-eastern Europe, launching a €300 million framework to help reduce the problem of non-performing loans.
The Bank continued its strong commitment to further developing the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) sectors in its regions, providing some €1.2 billion in finance directly and through the banking systems and delivering advisory services to nearly 2,000 SMEs.
Throughout 2017, the EBRD continued to be guided by the six “transition qualities” that best equip its economies to meet the challenges of the 21st century, making them more competitive, better governed, greener, more inclusive, more resilient and more integrated.