Ukraine to Step Up COVID-19 Support to Export-oriented Small and Medium Enterprises, with World Bank Financing
The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved today $100 million in Additional Financing for the country’s COVID-19 response under the Ukraine Access to Long Term Finance Project.
The Ukrainian state-owned Ukreximbank (UEB) is a borrower and implementing agency of the ongoing Bank project, Access to Long Term Finance, and the additional funds will be used by the UEB to provide loans to export-oriented small and medium enterprises (SMEs) affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. The project is focused on providing sub-loans of longer maturity than are currently present on the market.
“Over the years, the World Bank has supported small and medium businesses, which should become the backbone of Ukraine’s economy. These new loans from Ukreximbank will create jobs, stimulate competitiveness, help Ukrainian companies find new customers abroad, increase revenues, and contribute to poverty reduction as Ukraine recovers from the pandemic,” said Arup Banerji, World Bank Regional Country Director for Eastern Europe.
Implemented since the summer of 2018, the ongoing $150 million Access to Long Term Finance Project has already had a positive effect on Ukraine’s SME sector. More than 50 entrepreneurs from all over Ukraine had already received financial support as part of the project. The majority of SMEs supported by the project work in agriculture and food processing industries, where Ukraine’s exporters hold natural comparative advantages and where SMEs traditionally dominate.
The project also provided loans to firms in various production industries: manufacturing of mining equipment and refrigerators, dental and electric equipment, plastic packaging, wood processing, carpet-weaving, etc. The project helped these SMEs to compete with larger enterprises.
The World Bank’s current investment project portfolio in Ukraine amounts to about $3.3 billion, in 11 ongoing investment projects and one Program for Results operation. The investments support improvements in basic public services that directly benefit ordinary people in areas such as water supply, sanitation, heating, power, energy efficiency, roads, social protection, education and healthcare, as well as private sector development. Since Ukraine joined the World Bank in 1992, the Bank’s commitments to the country have totaled above $13 billion in about 70 projects and programs.