The FINANCIAL — The European Investment Bank (EIB) is opening a Regional Representation Office for the Southern Caucasus to enhance its support for the public and private sectors and strengthen relations with promoters, partner banks and other IFIs in the region.
The office, located in Tbilisi, was inaugurated today by EIB Vice President Wilhelm Molterer in the presence of Georgia’s Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and the EU’s Ambassador to Georgia Janos Herman. It will cater for business in Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.
“The regional office represents a major step in the EIB’s attempt to get closer to the client in this important region. It will allow us to better seize upon lending and technical assistance opportunities, and better assess and respond to the financing needs of the three countries,” said Vice-President Molterer, responsible for the EIB’s operations in Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.
A presence on the ground will ensure market proximity and an increased operational delivery capability for the EIB, as well as closer institutional ties with the national authorities. It will contribute to project identification and screening, appraisal of new operations, and the development of new products to finance the public and private sectors.
The EIB has accelerated its lending activities in the region over the past five years, and at the end of 2014 these stood at EUR 726 million: EUR 493 million in Georgia; EUR 217 in Armenia; and EUR 25 million in Azerbaijan, where the first operation was signed last year. Including the current loan, EIB signed lending commitments have reached EUR 533 million in Georgia.
The EIB – the European Union’s bank – finances projects in the Southern Caucasus countries on the basis of an EU Council and European Parliament mandate for the countries of the Eastern Neighbourhood. The 2014-2020 mandate provides for a total amount of Bank financing in the Eastern Neighbourhood of EUR 4.8 billion to support projects of significant interest to both the EU and its Eastern Neighbours in the areas of local private sector development, social and economic infrastructure and climate change. In addition, the Bank has set up a EUR 3 billion own-risk Neighbourhood Finance Facility to enhance its support for the Neighbourhood Countries.