Lviv cityscape at early spring, Ukraine.
- First Vice-President Jürgen Rigterink leads EBRD delegation to Lviv, western Ukraine
- EBRD has pledged to invest €3 billion in 2022-23 and has already deployed €1.7 billion in 2022
- First high-level visit to Ukraine in 2023 follows EBRD President’s Kyiv talks last October
EBRD First Vice-President Jürgen Rigterink this week led a high-level delegation from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to Lviv, western Ukraine, to discuss further increasing the Bank’s commitment to Ukraine as the country enters a second year of war.
The EBRD deployed a record €1.7 billion in Ukraine in 2022, also attracting additional co-finance from partner banks and international grants and guarantees from donors and shareholders.
The Bank, Ukraine’s largest institutional investor, has pledged to invest €3 billion in 2022-23 and stands ready to play a leading role in financing the country’s reconstruction when conditions allow.
Lviv and western Ukraine lie close to the border with several European Union countries. With the war putting in question Ukraine’s ability to import and export via its Black Sea ports, road and rail links leading west from Lviv are crucial for maintaining the economy. The area is also seen as a likely starting-point for future reconstruction efforts.
As the biggest population centre in western Ukraine, Lviv has proved a natural destination for internally displaced people, whose presence has put key municipal services under pressure at a time when the city is struggling for revenue. Last December, the EBRD lent €25 million to Lviv and its municipal companies, with credit support from the United States of America covering half the loan, to provide liquidity to adapt.
On Wednesday, accompanied by EBRD Managing Director for Eastern Europe and the Caucasus Matteo Patrone and Lesya Kuzmenko, the Bank’s Deputy Head of Ukraine for Industry, Commerce and Agribusiness, First Vice-President Rigterink met Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadovyi to discuss present and future investments. Together they visited a municipal hospital and the Unbroken initiative being built in Lviv – a rehabilitation ecosystem where Ukrainians with war injuries have access to multidisciplinary teams of surgeons, traumatologists, prosthetists, psychotherapists and rehabilitation experts.
During the three-day trip – the first high-level EBRD visit to Ukraine since the Bank’s President Odile Renaud-Basso met Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv last October – the delegation also looked at several EBRD projects in and around Lviv and held talks with clients on existing and potential projects.
Among clients was Bank Lviv, recipient of a €10 million syndicated loan last August for on-lending to small and medium-sized enterprises to help them withstand shocks caused by the war.
The EBRD group also visited the M10 Lviv Industrial Park project, 60 km from the Polish border, an ambitious project to develop a major industrial park creating warehouse and manufacturing space that will help Ukraine expand access to vital services and products. The EBRD committed last December to invest up to US$ 24.5 million in taking a 35 per cent stake in the project, whose first phase – construction of a 14,400-square-metre warehouse complex – is close to completion.
Other client meetings included a trip to new production facilities recently built, with EBRD support, by yeast plant Enzym, and discussions with representatives of pet food producer Kormotech, petrol station operator Galnaftogaz (GNG), air ventilator producer Prana and IT firm Softserve.
While in Lviv, the EBRD officials also visited the Superhumans rehabilitation centre, a humanitarian project set up by EBRD client Andriy Stavnitser, owner of one of the largest container terminals in Ukraine, TIS. The centre provides prosthetic limbs to adults and children. Ukraine’s First Lady Olena Zelenska sits on its board.
And they inspected a small company that is a marker of Ukrainian business resilience – a car wash operation destroyed by a rocket attack last April but rebuilt and back in operation within a month.
Since the beginning of the war, the Bank has moved swiftly from condemning the Russian invasion to preparing an immediate financial response. Its assistance aims to ensure the resilience of Ukraine and the countries that are welcoming refugees, while preparing for reconstruction in the future.