The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) invested €117 million in Armenia’s economy in 2022, EBRD informs Armenian News-NEWS.am.
Proceeds mostly went to the telecommunications and financial institutions sectors to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through credit lines and trade financing. All of the investments were in the private sector. George Akhalkatsi, EBRD Head of Armenia, said: “Our activities included trade finance support and helping our clients to build a more inclusive, greener and digitalized economy through provision of funding to local banks for on-lending, with additional grant incentives from the European Union (EU) in Armenia. We also enhanced the telecoms infrastructure thus supporting vital network expansion, especially to rural areas.” The EBRD maintained its support for SMEs, providing up to €24 million in credit lines to three partner banks for on-lending to businesses, including women entrepreneurs, to improve competitiveness, energy efficiency, economic resilience and inclusion. The credit lines are accompanied by grants from donor partners, the EU, SIDA and the Green Climate Fund (GCF). To keep vital trade flows going, the EBRD supported close to €74 million in trade finance transactions in Armenia, involving eight local partner banks, under its Trade Facilitation Programme. The Bank also extended a US$ 20 million loan to Telecom Armenia to finance more reliable and faster internet connections, helping to improve connectivity for 450,000 households and businesses across the country. In parallel to the financing the EBRD provided business advice to local SMEs by implementing 49 advisory and consultancy projects and15 market-development activities and training sessions. An impressive 92 percent of the beneficiaries reported an increase in revenues and improvements in productivity. Complementing its investments, the EBRD continued to engage in policy dialogue. The Bank promoted local currency and capital markets development, and supported the Central Bank of Armenia in implementing the crowdfunding regulatory framework, helping to launch the first crowdfunding platform. The Investment Council of Armenia, which is funded by the UK government through the Good Governance Fund and supported by the EBRD, continued its work with the Ministry of Economy on a number of business climate improvements, such as modernizing the insolvency framework. In line with the Bank’s gender and inclusion strategies, the EBRD maintained its efforts to enhance gender inclusion in its projects, creating equal opportunities for men, women and the youth, especially in rural areas. The cumulative number of Bank projects in Armenia reached 205, with overall investments totaling more than €2 billion and private-sector investment representing 91 percent.