EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti described Covid-19 as an unprecedented challenge to the world and to the EBRD regions. Announcing the new measures, he said, “The crisis is now so all‐encompassing that, in practice, it is expected that all of the Bank’s business over the next one to two years will contribute to the EBRD’s crisis response.”
The EBRD is adapting and scaling up existing instruments and developing new initiatives to provide finance and policy support to help stave off the immediate threat of the virus. It is also working to prepare its countries for the post-virus era and to safeguard their hard-won progress towards sustainable, fair and open market economies.
A key pillar of the EBRD’s Solidarity Package is a Resilience Framework providing finance to meet the short-term liquidity and working capital needs of existing clients. Demand has been strong and, as part of the scaled-up response, financing available under the Framework will rise to €4 billion from €1 billion until a further assessment of needs before the end of this year. The EBRD has widened its scope to include the affiliates of existing clients.
The EBRD will increase financing under its Trade Facilitation Programme, responding to fast-rising demand for trade finance to keep open the channels of commerce under challenging circumstances. It will also offer fast-track restructuring for distressed clients.
The Bank will strengthen established frameworks that can reach out especially to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and corporations that are not yet clients of the EBRD, making the real economy more resilient with financing delivered directly and indirectly via the banking system. Another element in the Solidarity Package is a new emergency facility to meet essential infrastructure requirements.
The emergency channels will target all sectors of the economy, but especially those badly hit by the crisis, including among others, financial institutions, SMEs, and corporate sectors such as tourism and hospitality, automotive and transport providers, agribusiness, and medical supplies.
This pandemic has the potential to entrench and exacerbate inequalities in society and to jeopardise hard‐fought commitments in the battle against climate change. As the EBRD acts to protect the economies of its regions, it will also seek to safeguard transition, working to ensure an inclusive and gender-sensitive response to the crisis and to preserve commitments on the transition to the green economy.
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