Huge investment for Ukraine spurs rather than holds back major investments in neighbouring states.
With Ukraine suffering invasion from Russia, the bank provided €1.7bn for Ukraine in 2022, with another €1.3bn expected to be invested as reconstruction continues in 2023.
Major areas of investment include Ukraine’s railway company and the national power grid operator, which both benefited from €150m of emergency funding in the summer to support infrastructure resilience through the war. This financing was supported by partial risk coverage from France, the Netherlands, the European Union, United Kingdom and the USA.
A later financing package of €370 million to Ukrenergo in the autumn was made up of a €300m from the EBRD and €70m from The Netherlands. This finance was to conduct emergency repairs to the national power grid necessitated by Russia’s strikes on civilian infrastructure.
Ukraine’s gas company Naftogaz was also provided €500m to compensate for the loss of natural gas production following the Russian invasion.
EBRD president Odile Renaud-Basso stressed that more work was still to come, saying: “In the future, we intend to expand our work with municipalities, including in de-occupied zones. For this, we foresee that we and our partners will need new financial instruments – a higher proportion of grants rather than loans. We have been requesting further support from shareholders or donors, either in form of donor funds or guarantees, to continue sharing the risks of investing in Ukraine with us this year.”
Poland’s energy transition
While support for Ukraine was focused on resilience and reconstruction under invasion, in Poland, a record €990m of investment is playing a big role in the energy transition.
Projects supported by the EBRD in 2022 alone will add 1,000 MW (1GW) of renewable energy capacity in Poland in the short to medium term. Overall, 80% of last year’s investment was provided to low-carbon transition projects, including sustainable transport and green finance instruments.
Elisabetta Falcetti, EBRD director for Central Europe explained: “EBRD support through debt and equity helped Poland’s capital markets and the industry through the turmoil caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but it is also crucial that a vast majority of our funds boosted the green and circular economy. The EBRD office in Warsaw is now shared with our colleagues from Kyiv, who worked tirelessly to ensure the bank’s record investment in Ukraine last year. I am proud of what EBRD teams based in Poland achieved last year, operating in extraordinary circumstances.”
Other investments also included the construction of a new container terminal by Baltic Hub in the port of Gdansk, the only port in the Baltic Sea designed to handle ultra-large container vessels. The EBRD €100m sustainability-linked loan for this project will help reduce emissions and diversify export routes via Poland from neighbouring countries, including Ukraine.
Other green transport projects supported include a tramway extension in Krakow that is also the city’s first public-private partnership, and Elemental’s new e-waste recycling facility which will process parts from used electric cars.
The EBRD also invested a record €525m in 14 projects in Moldova in 2022, providing crucial support to the small nation during a turbulent year caused by Russia’s war on Ukraine.
The bank’s annual investment increased five-fold from its 2021 figures when it stood at €106m, as Moldova struggled with high inflation and a global energy crisis caused by the fallout of the war, as well as an influx of refugees from neighbouring Ukraine.
Moldova is highly dependent on imported natural gas from Russia via Ukraine. Significant funding was therefore provided to help the country rapidly diversify its gas supplies away from Russian sources and procure supplies from European hubs.
The bank also allocated €100m for the improvement of roads near its border with Ukraine, supporting regional integration and continued trade flows between Moldova, its traditional markets and the European Union.
The bank’s head of Moldova, Angela Sax, said: “We have not only invested a record volume that provided a lifeline to the Moldovan economy, but also disbursed funds at a record rate, ensuring that our money went to the real economy and benefited regular Moldovans, who have been so significantly impacted by the war on Ukraine. I am proud of our commitment and determination to support Moldova’s economy, while also supporting reforms in critical sectors.”