Thursday, May 16 2024 10:57
Naira Badalian

EBRD, USAID to develop transport infrastructure of Armenia,  Azerbaijan, Georgia 

EBRD, USAID to develop transport infrastructure of Armenia,  Azerbaijan, Georgia 

ArmInfo.The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the United States Agency  for International Development (USAID) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to develop the Trans-Caspian International Transport Route, also known as the Middle Corridor, to further enhance connectivity between Asia and Europe, via the South Caucasus.

According to a statement from the EBRD press office, the partnership  will focus on expanding trade, green energy, investment in new  industries, as well as transport and digital infrastructure in  Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.

"Strengthening the Middle Corridor will create new, transformative  economic opportunities across the region and provide an alternative  transport route to existing commercial corridors.

"The MoU seeks to enhance the planning, design and construction of  critical energy, transport, digital and agricultural infrastructure  in the region. It also aims to: improve the efficiency of customs,  tariff and border operations; attract private capital investment into  the South Caucasus economies for the development of the Middle  Corridor; and adopt the highest international standards to promote  economic connectivity with Europe and among South Caucasus  countries," the statement reads.

Other cooperation priorities focus on expanding investments in  carbon-free energy opportunities and advancing policy and governance  reforms to combat corruption and expand engagement with civil  society.

The MoU was signed by EBRD Vice President, Banking, Matteo Patrone,  and Erin Elizabeth McKee, Assistant Administrator in the Bureau for  Europe and Eurasia at USAID, on the margins of the EBRD's Annual  Meeting and Business Forum taking place in Armenia.

In Armenia the EBRD focuses on:  Developing the financial sector and  improving access to finance. 

The EBRD will focus on providing its traditional SME and  micro-finance lines targeting areas outside Yerevan, the capital, and  facilitating access to credit for SMEs in the rural areas. In rural  areas, we will launch agricultural credit lines in local currency and  associated Technical Cooperation (TC), in particular as the sector  becomes more commercialised. The EBRD, in cooperation with the IMF  and World Bank, will engage in policy dialogue and provide TC to  strengthen the Central Bank's capacity to reduce inflation and  dollarisation and develop local money and capital markets.  

Improving municipal and urban transport infrastructure. The EBRD will  support enhanced private sector participation in the water and waste  water sectors to support the introduction of cost-reflective tariff  structures, improve service availability and reduce losses. We will  support through our investments urban and municipal transport reforms  including the introduction of integrated transport management and  ticketing systems, better parking management and regulation of feeder  bus and minibus services. 

Intensive policy dialogue will be required to support reforms at the  central and local levels.To address affordability and debt capacity  constraints, a high level of grant co-financing will be required  along with gradual tariff increases toward cost recovery.  

Developing agribusiness and high value-added, export-oriented  industrial companies. The EBRD will help to address challenges in the  industrial sectors through support for improvements to the business  environment, strengthening corporate governance and increasing access  to finance for local micro, small and medium sized enterprises  (MSMEs). The EBRD will identify investments in industries with export  potential, including in areas highlighted by the authorities' recent  programme of export promotion. The EBRD will aim to support the  agricultural sector by targeting investments along the whole value  chain. Where possible, the EBRD will aim to utilise local currency  financing. The EBRD will also enhance activities to support MSMEs in  key sectors through provision of advisory services.  Improving the  regulatory and institutional framework for sustainable energy and  increasing value-added in the mining sector. The EBRD will support  investments in financially viable renewable energy projects and,  through partner banks, continue to finance energy efficiency credit  lines for industrial and residential users.  The EBRD will support  power generation, particularly new entrants and non-state  participants, and will consider participating in regional electricity  infrastructure projects that strengthen competition in the regional  electricity market. The EBRD will support bankable mining operations  with reputable investors who demonstrate high standards of  environmental and social protection.  

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