Vienna, March 22, 2022 - With EUR 222 million in new loans and investments provided on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Finance (BMF), the overall portfolio of the Oesterreichische Entwicklungsbank AG (OeEB) reached a new high of EUR 1,47 billion at the end of 2021. With a share of 80%, the focus of new business was on financing for renewable energies, small and medium-sized enterprises and infrastructure.
Combating climate change has not lost its importance in view of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Sustainable, climate-friendly solutions are used for the economic upswing. Development finance institutions such as OeEB play a key role in providing the funds required for this. With around EUR 54 million, OeEB was once again an important contributor to international climate finance in Austria in 2021. In addition, OeEB invested EUR 15 million in the Interact Climate Change Facility (ICCF), which helps finance climate-friendly investments in developing countries. A syndicated loan of USD 14 million was also concluded with the sustainable Swiss investment company responsAbility, which specializes in impact investments. The financing will benefit the Austrian pioneer company Swimsol, which develops floating solar systems and rooftop systems for island states.
"Improving access to clean, reliable and affordable energy that enables economic development and helps combat climate change is one of our core strategic goals. By cooperating with partners who are working towards the same goal, we can not only increase the efficiency but also the impact of our investments," says Sabine Gaber, member of the OeEB Executive Board.
Strong commitment in Africa and in the poorest developing countries
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, OeEB was able to maintain its business in Africa and the world's poorest countries (least developed countries) and prepare for further expansion. "We invested more than 30% of the new business volume in 2021 on the African continent," explains Board Member Michael Wancata.
In order to support the countries in the sub-Saharan region, OeEB together with the European Investment Bank (EIB) provided a first EUR 50 million tranche from a EUR 100 million credit line in 2021. OeEB will on-lend the loans to African companies directly or through local financial institutions. The beneficiaries of the financing initiative are companies that are hardest hit by the economic, health and social problems of the COVID-19 crisis.
"Improving access to finance for small and medium-sized businesses has been one of our main goals for many years. Especially now, with the climate crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic hitting SMEs particularly hard, this goal has become even more important. The cooperation with the European Investment Bank enables us to provide targeted support to the private sector and companies throughout Africa in order to continue to secure investments and jobs," says Michael Wancata.
Economic empowerment of women
In addition to combating climate change, OeEB has set itself the goal of contributing to the economic empowerment of women in developing countries through its investments. By joining the 2X Challenge in 2021, OeEB underscores this commitment. The aim of the global initiative is to mobilize 15 billion US dollars for 'gender-smart' investments by the end of 2022 to empower women as entrepreneurs, managers, employees or consumers and to promote their economic participation.
"Women are more affected than men by several dimensions of poverty, such as education, income or health. OeEB therefore also pays attention to gender equality in all of its projects and wants to make a specific contribution to empowering women in developing countries economically. Sustainable economic development and poverty reduction can only succeed if we reduce inequalities and remove the obstacles that limit women's participation in economic life," explain OeEB board members Sabine Gaber and Michael Wancata.
Results at a glance
In the past financial year, OeEB generated a net income of EUR 5 million (2020: EUR 4.7 million). The operating result was EUR 7 million (2020: EUR 6.4 million). With new business of around EUR 222 million (investment financing and participations), the total portfolio of loans and participations amounted to EUR 1.47 billion at the end of the year. OeEB provided EUR 0.65 million for project-related measures to increase developmental effects. These projects were again financed entirely from our own funds.