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.
In FY21, MIGA issued $1.7 billion of guarantees in the ECA region in support of 14 projects, accounting for 33% of the total issuance in this fiscal year. Specifically, the Agency issued Capital Optimization guarantees to ProCredit Bank and Raiffeisen Bank International to help small and medium businesses weather the COVID-19 pandemic as well as support climate finance. MIGA also guaranteed a power project in Uzbekistan, which will displace aged and inefficient facilities and reduce CO2 emissions. In the previous fiscal year, new guarantees issued in ECA countries amounted to $499 million and accounted for 13% of the total FY20 issuance.
In FY20 and FY21, the majority of MIGA’s new guarantees issued in the region were through its COVID-19 Response Program.
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.
Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo & Serbia
In March 2021, MIGA issued five guarantees for €682.5 million (US$800 million) to Raiffeisen Bank International AG of Austria (RBI) for a period of up to 3 years. These guarantees provide coverage on mandatory reserves held by RBI’s subsidiaries in Albania, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Serbia in their respective central banks.
Up to 15% of the freed-up capital from the MIGA guarantees will be allocated by RBI’s subsidiaries towards climate finance and green lending. This project represents a significant advancement in MIGA’s relationship with RBI through the introduction of climate finance targets for each subsidiary, combined with additional measures to help RBI accelerate its plans to develop an integrated climate finance framework for all the subsidiaries over the course of the guarantee period.
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.
The hospital officially opened its door in May 2020. As one of the largest health complexes in the world, it is helping Turkey better respond to the COVID-19 pandemic as well as address other public health challenges.
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.
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.