EBRD welcomes green economy drive in Kazakhstan
May 24. EBRD
By Svitlana Pyrkalo
The EBRD welcomes the drive by the leadership of Kazakhstan to turn the country’s economy green, EBRD President, Sir Suma Chakrabarti, has said in Almaty.
He welcomed the statement by the President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, who said during the Astana Economic Forum that the environment is now one of the main priorities in the country, together with economy and innovation. President Nazarbayev also added that Kazakhstan will spend about 2 per cent of its GDP on green energy projects.
“The EBRD welcomes the Kazakh government’s drive for the green economy, and we will consider supporting it with investments in the private and municipal sectors. Just yesterday I signed an energy efficiency project with CAEPCO, a private energy operator, for €106 million. Kazakhstan was the first EBRD country to sign up to our Sustainable Energy Action Plan; we have just signed an agreement with the government to step up efforts in the solid waste and the water management sector; and we look forward to finding new, innovative projects that will help the Kazakh economy go greener,” said President Suma Chakrabarti.
The EBRD has already invested over US$ 650 million in energy efficiency projects in Kazakhstan in corporate energy efficiency, credit lines to partner banks for on-lending to the private sector, cleaner energy production, renewable energy, and municipal infrastructure energy efficiency.
Energy savings from projects financed by the EBRD so far amount to about 10 per cent of the country’s use of electricity. As a result of these projects, Kazakhstan reduced its greenhouse gas emissions reductions amount by 3,885 kilotonnes per year.
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US$ 10 million in tenge will help KazMicroFinance access villages
May 23. EBRD
By Svitlana Pyrkalo
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) believes that providing opportunities to people in underdeveloped regions is a key condition for the healthy growth of any economy.
To increase access to credit for small entrepreneurs and farmers in remote areas of Kazakhstan, the EBRD is now lending the local currency equivalent of US$ 10 million to KazMicroFinance (KMF), the largest non-banking microfinance institution in the country.
KMF has served over 78,000 clients, distributing over US$ 87 million worth of loans throughout the country. The EBRD loan will support the company’s expansion into agricultural and rural areas of Kazakhstan.
“Micro, small and medium-sized businesses are where the spirit of entrepreneurship lives”, said EBRD President, Sir Suma Chakrabarti, signing the deal in Almaty. “We are committed to small businesses everywhere – and we think in Kazakhstan access to finance in rural areas can be improved by non-bank institutions like KMF, a long-standing partner of the EBRD”.
“At present, entrepreneurs in rural areas of Kazakhstan have poor access to funding for supporting and developing their small businesses. Thanks to the EBRD’s loan, we will be able to meet the expectations of our current and potential clients: expand activity in remote rural areas and provide high quality microfinance services to people involved in agricultural industry and micro-entrepreneurship. We are proud that seven years’ fruitful cooperation between the EBRD and KMF is continuing with the signing of the current US$ 10 million loan agreement, which once again demonstrates the high level of confidence between us,” – said the CEO of KMF, Shalkar Zhussupov.
The EBRD considers supporting SMEs as one of its priorities in the country. The Bank has also worked with over 1,000 companies over the last ten years through its Business Advisory Services Programme (BAS/SBS) helping them to prepare bankable business plans, maintain good corporate records and information systems and prepare for exports. This year, for the first time, the Kazakh government will co-finance the EBRD’s Small Business Support services in Kazakhstan.
Since the beginning of its operations in Kazakhstan 20 years ago, the EBRD has invested close to US$ 6.3 billion in the country’s economy, with more than half of the projects supporting the private sector.
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Pavlodar and Petropavlovsk in Kazakhstan will upgrade electricity networks
May 22. EBRD
By Svitlana Pyrkalo
Both the government and the private sector in Kazakhstan agree on the same goal: turning its economy green. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is supporting Kazakhstan to achieve that goal by increasing funding for energy efficiency.
The EBRD is arranging a €106 million syndicated loan for the benefit of the Central Asian Electric Power Corporation (CAEPCO), one of the few private operators in the power sector of Kazakhstan. The EBRD will also provide grant funding of €400,000 to the Ministry of Environmental Protection for improvement of environmental standards, and over €160,000 to the company for energy efficiency-associated audits and research.
CAEPCO will use the loan to reduce heat and electricity losses – which will mean more efficiency and less pollution. The company will modernise energy generators and optimise electricity distribution networks in the cities of Pavlodar and Petropavlovsk in Kazakhstan.
The improvements will save almost half a million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions a year. For Kazakhstan – which emits the most CO2 per capita in the ex-USSR – this means a saving of half a day of emissions for the entire country.
At the signing ceremony in Almaty, the EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti said: “We support the government’s drive to have a greener and more efficient country. What makes this deal even more important is that this improvement in efficiency will be made by a private company. We call on the government to raise standards in the industry to international levels, which will enable entrepreneurs to help the country go greener”.
Alexander Klebanov, the Chairman of the Board of Directors at CAEPCO, said: “Being a socially responsible business, CAEPCO JSC implements an investment programme aimed at improving reliability of power equipment and rendering quality services to consumers. Even before this deal, we invested tens of millions of US dollars into modernisation and renovation of outdated and worn-out equipment and to improvements of environmental standards”.
CAEPCO accounts for almost 6 per cent of electricity production in Kazakhstan, serving almost a million customers. The EBRD is a shareholder in the company with almost 25 per cent of shares.
In Kazakhstan, as elsewhere, one of the EBRD’s priorities is energy efficiency. In all its countries of operations, the Bank has invested over €11 billion in energy efficiency projects. At its Annual Meeting in Istanbul in May, the EBRD launched a new Sustainable Resource Initiative, which widens its existing Sustainable Energy Initiative.