Europe and Central Asia
In the emerging and developing countries of Europe and Central Asia (ECA), regional output collapsed in the first half of 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic caused domestic demand to plummet, exacerbated supply disruptions, and halted manufacturing and services activity. The sharp decline in remittance inflows also contributed to the slide in retail sales. The World Bank estimates that the pace of recovery in 2021 is projected to be faster than originally anticipated, at 3.6%, as firming external demand and stabilizing industrial commodity prices partly offset a recent flareup in new COVID-19 cases.
According to UNCTAD, FDI flows to the ECA region fell sharply by 77% to an estimated $13 billion in 2020 due to the pandemic. This was the lowest level of inflows recorded since 2002.
New guarantees issued in ECA countries amounted to $499 million and accounted for 13% of MIGA's FY20 gross issuances. The majority of guarantees issued in the region were Capital Optimization guarantees that were issued under Pillar 2B of the Agency’s COVID-19 Fast-Track Facility.
EXAMPLES OF MIGA-SUPPORTED PROJECTS IN Europe and Central Asia
In June 2020, MIGA issued a guarantee to Alpha Bank A.E. of Greece (ABG) covering up to €47.5 million of its investment in its Albanian subsidiary, Alpha Bank Albania SHA. The guarantee will cover Alpha Bank Albania’s mandatory reserves held with the Central Bank of Albania from the risk of expropriation of funds, and support ABA’s lending operations at a time of significant strain arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. A sizable portion of the lending supported by the MIGA guarantee will be directed at micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), the key drivers of growth and leading sources of jobs in Albania.
MIGA’s coverage will support ABG by freeing up lending capacity under the Group’s risk limits at a critical time for Albania’s economy. MIGA’s capital optimization product is particularly important for enabling ABG to further increase its capital available to support Albania’s economy through continued lending, while complying with the regulations set by the Central Bank of Albania.
In September 2019, IFC and MIGA provided a €259.57 million financing and guarantees package to Beo Čista Energija d.o.o. for a landmark waste-to-energy project in Belgrade, Serbia, that will clean up one of Europe’s largest uncontrolled landfills and construct a new, sustainable waste-management complex to help reduce pollution and mitigate climate change.
MIGA guarantees of €97.3 million are being provided for up to 20 years against non-commercial risks, including breach of contract. The guarantees are covering up to 90 percent of investor equity in Beo Čista Energija d.o.o.
In 2016, a Political Risk Insurance (PRI) guarantee issued by MIGA in support of a €288 million bond attracted a group of investors to finance the construction and operation of a new hospital in the Turkish city of Elazig. The 20-year MIGA guarantee, along with a liquidity facility provided by EBRD, led Moody's to assign an investment grade rating of Baa2 to the bond, surpassing Turkey's sovereign rating. This was also the first time an infrastructure bond was used to finance a greenfield hospital public-private partnership (PPP) project in Turkey, and support from MIGA and EBRD was critical to attracting long-term investors.
In 2017, MIGA issued guarantees of about $119 million to Sojitz Hospital PPP Investment B.V. of the Netherlands for an equity investment and shareholder loan into the Istanbul Ikitelli Integrated Health Campus Project (later renamed Başakşehir Çam & Sakura City Hospital) in Turkey. The guarantees, available for up to 20 years, provide coverage against the risks of transfer restriction, expropriation and breach of contract.
The project involves the development of a 2,682-bed hospital campus near Istanbul under a 28.5-year construction, finance, maintenance and transfer agreement. It is part of the Turkish Health Public-Private Partnership Program (PPP) developed by Turkey’s Ministry of Health to reform and modernize public hospital infrastructure in the country.
MIGA & EBRD Strengthen Commitment to Cooperation
In May 2019, MIGA and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that envisages greater cooperation and the use of the institutions’ respective financial products in joint projects. Such products may include political risk insurance and credit enhancement, as well as debt, equity, guarantees and risk-sharing products.
The MoU also lays out a commitment to stronger cooperation on identifying new projects, while deepening ties between the two institutions and potential private sector investors. The MoU further calls for greater coordination on all stages of a project, from marketing to underwriting and implementation.