In its annual operational statement Thursday, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said Turkey overtook Egypt to reclaim the top spot as the single biggest recipient country, receiving 1.7 billion euros ($2.06 billion) in investments in 2020, of which just over half went to local banks.
The bank said it had increased its investments to a record 11 billion euros in 2020 to help companies across its region mitigate the economic hit from the coronavirus pandemic.
The outlook for Turkey had generally improved, said Jurgen Rigterink, the EBRD’s vice president.
When you look at Turkey, Rigterink said it seems that the confidence is back and that is particularly visible in the strength of the Turkish lira.
The bank said in the statement that it’s priority in Turkey last year was the provision of vital support to the real economy through engagement with local partner banks.
“The bank channeled a record 893 million euros to Turkish banks to support thousands of businesses across the country, providing the private sector with much-needed funds,” it said, including the vital infrastructure support in local currency to the Enerjisa electricity distribution company in the power sector and the financing of renewables with a 30 million euro loan to the wind farm in the Kıyıköy district of northwestern Kırklareli province.
The EBRD focused last year on providing emergency short-term liquidity, working capital, trade finance and restructuring for its existing clients affected by the crisis.
EBRD President Odile Renaud-Basso said: “The bank put in an impressive performance and delivered on its promise to help our countries and clients deal with the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our investments were sharply higher than the year before, and we also provided policy support to help the private sector through the crisis.”
Keeping trade flows going, the EBRD also supported a new record of 2,090 trade finance transactions worth 3.3 billion euros under its Trade Facilitation Program, involving 90 issuing and 140 confirming banks across 40 countries worldwide. The transactions include the import of medicines from Spain, Turkey and Switzerland into Lebanon, Georgia and Jordan.
The bank also recorded a small profit of around 100 million euros in 2020, according to Rigterink, down from a net profit of 1.4 billion euros in 2019. The EBRD is due to publish its full financial results in a few weeks.
The majority owned by G-7 top economic powers, the EBRD invests in 38 economies, including central and eastern Europe as well as Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco in Africa.