The European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said its Trade Facilitation Programme (TFP) supported its highest ever number of transactions in a single year in 2022.
The EBRD said the programme facilitated 1,768 transactions worth a record €3.6 billion with 91 partner banks in 27 countries.
“In 2022, the programme supported transactions ranging from a modest €3,500 for medical equipment imports to Egypt to multi-million-euro intraregional deals, including wheat exports from Ukraine,” said the EBRD.
“Highlights of the year included major intraregional transactions, the programme’s role in supporting food supply chains and green trade finance across the EBRD regions.
“In 2022, the programme facilitated €1,080 million in trade financing for food, related commodities, fertilisers and agricultural equipment, particularly crucial in the face of the war on Ukraine.
“The conflict put enormous strain on regional supply chains, with food security becoming one of the biggest global challenges.
“The war disrupted the planting, growing, harvesting, storage and export cycle in Ukraine, with knock-on effects on other EBRD countries, particularly those in the southern and eastern Mediterranean (SEMED)region, which rely on food and related commodity imports.
“The EBRD stepped in when commercial banks’ capacity to facilitate trade began to dry up.
“Last year, the TFP supported imports of agricultural machinery to Ukraine on more than 10 occasions.
“The programme also facilitated imports of fertilisers to Ukraine to keep the country’s grain production running. Later in the year, once the blockade on Ukrainian ports had been lifted, the TFP supported the country’s first wheat exports.”
The EBRD said green trade finance also flourished, with a record volume of €421 million, up from €287.7 million in 2021.
These included export transactions, such as array cables from Greece to the United States and greener buses from Georgia to Yerevan in Armenia, and the import of energy-efficient street lighting from Ukraine to Georgia and the import of sustainably sourced forestry products from Romania to Egypt and Tunisia.
The Trade Facilitation Programme, launched in 1999, aims to promote foreign trade to, from and between the economies where the EBRD invests.