International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, expanded its investments in Europe and Central Asia, reaching USD 2.9 billion. IFC financing is meant to help drive the diversification of the region’s economies and promote access to capital for small businesses. Among the largest investments made is Romania with a total of USD 336.4 million.
IFC invested USD 2.26 billion from its account and mobilized another USD 0.68 billion from other investors during its fiscal year 2018, which ended in June 30. The investments were geared at helping the region’s financial sector increase its loans to small and medium-sized enterprises, support women-owned businesses, develop agribusiness and improve the region’s urban infrastructure. IFC also supported USD 1.8 billion of cross-border trade in the region through 28 banks participating in its global trade finance program.
IFC’s largest commitments during the last fiscal year were Turkey (USD 1.1 billion), Romania (USD 336.4 million), Serbia (USD 190.5 million), Ukraine (USD 129.1 million) and Kazakhstan (USD 111.5 million). Some landmark transactions include EUR 108 million in financing boost Serbia’s production of renewable energy through windfarms, a USD 120 million loan for the agribusiness sector in Ukraine and a USD 75 million investment to support women entrepreneurs in Turkey.
Wiebke Schloemer, IFC’s director for Europe and Central Asia, said that for the coming years IFC’s focus on the region will be “on supporting the development of the fledging private sector in some of the poorest and conflicted-affected countries in the region while also continuing to work in middle income countries to promote innovation and competitiveness, energy efficiency and sustainable urban infrastructure.”
IFC also implemented 79 advisory projects in the region which focused on improving business regulations, working with the private sector to fight climate change and helping local companies improve their corporate governance, and environmental and social practices.
During the next fiscal year, IFC will continue to focus on high-impact projects that can help mitigate climate change, promote financial inclusion and create new jobs.
A few highlights from the past fiscal year:
- IFC issued the first Uzbek Soum-denominated bond in the international markets, raising UZS 80 billion – USD10 million equivalent – to expand lending for micro, small and medium enterprises in Uzbekistan.
- IFC invested EUR 120 million in the first subordinated bonds issued by a Romanian bank to strengthen its capital base and help deepen the country’s financial markets.
- IFC completed pilot of cities program, supporting 10 urban infrastructure projects and facilitating financing EUR 278 million.
- IFC invested USD 75 million in the first private bank gender bond to support women entrepreneurs in Turkey.
- IFC helped establish USD150 million energy efficiency fund in Ukraine to modernize homes.
- IFC Invested USD120 million in agribusiness in Ukraine.
- IFC facilitated Turkey’s first EDGE Green Building Certification awarded to Greenox Building in Istanbul.
- IFC provided EUR 107.7 million to boost Serbia’s production of renewable energy through windfarms.
- IFC created opportunity for private sector investments of USD 340 million in sustainable cotton farming in Uzbekistan.
IFC—a sister organization of the World Bank and member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work with more than 2,000 businesses worldwide, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in the toughest areas of the world. In fiscal year 2018, we delivered more than USD 23 billion in long-term financing for developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity.