EBRD unveils investment volume in Azerbaijan in 2022

EBRD unveils investment volume in Azerbaijan in 2022
# 30 January 2023 15:37 (UTC +04:00)

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) invested €86 million in 9 projects in Azerbaijan in 2022. Most of these investments were in the private sector, with 71 percent in the country’s green economy and in sectors ranging from renewable energy and sustainable infrastructure to telecommunications, media, and technology (TMT), APA reports.

Throughout 2022 the EBRD contributed significantly to Azerbaijan’s goal of diversifying its energy mix. In terms of investments, the Bank co-financed the construction of the country’s first privately owned, utility-scale solar power plant, which is set to generate up to 558-gigawatt hours (GWh) of green electricity.

In terms of policy, the Bank reaffirmed its partnership with the Ministry of Energy to develop renewable energy further, introduce a sectoral low-carbon pathway, improve the national grid, boost energy efficiency, reduce methane emissions and gradually introduce innovative technologies.

The Bank was also active in developing sustainable infrastructure with two investments – one in Ganja’s waste management system and the other to improve the city’s street lighting. This was done within the framework of the EBRD’s flagship Green Cities program. More than 300,000 people living in Azerbaijan’s second-largest city now stand to benefit from improvements in their urban environment.

Further investment was made in logistical infrastructure to support Azerbaijan’s supply chain resilience and to boost broader Middle Corridor warehouse capacity. The Bank provided loans to private sector clients for the construction of energy-efficient dry and refrigerated warehouses.

The year also marked many firsts for the EBRD in Azerbaijan. With support from the European Union (EU), the Bank financed its first circular economy project, helping a company that recycles batteries that would have otherwise ended up in a landfill.

In terms of digitalization, the Bank made its first co-investment with the EU in the TMT sector to roll out state-of-the-art broadband infrastructure to more than 280,000 households in the regions of the country.

The Bank also supported small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) through its Advice for Small Business Programme and its Trade Facilitation Programme (TFP). Following a five-year hiatus, the Bank reactivated a trade finance guarantee with its partner bank and issued its first transaction.

In 2022 the Bank also launched its flagship Star Venture program in Azerbaijan, which targets promising start-ups, accelerators and consultants to help them unleash their full potential. More than 180 applications were submitted from start-ups representing a wide range of industries, from which three were chosen and awarded a US$ 50,000 grant each.

Last year also saw EBRD President, Odile Renaud-Basso, make her first visit to Baku, where she met President Aliyev, ministers, diplomatic corps, heads of fellow international financial institutions (IFIs), and existing and potential private sector clients.

Looking ahead, Matteo Patrone, the EBRD’s Managing Director for Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, noted: “We are quite optimistic about our future cooperation with Azerbaijan, be it in green finance, economic inclusion, sustainable infrastructure or digitalization. The Bank’s cooperation with Azerbaijan in 2022 provides a very strong stepping stone for future cooperation.”

The EBRD is a leading institutional investor in Azerbaijan, where it has invested €3.6 billion in 187 projects. The Bank’s strategy in the country focuses on helping Azerbaijan to diversify its economy and develop the non-oil private sector.