Oesterreichische Entwicklungsbank AG (OeEB) has been working on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Finance (BMF) since March 2008 with the aim of permanently improving the living conditions of people in disadvantaged regions. With almost 500 implemented projects and a managed portfolio of EUR 1.62 billion, OeEB has established itself as a central player in Austrian development cooperation. At the anniversary celebration on Tuesday, partners, customers, and companions looked back on the success story over the past fifteen years.
OeEB was founded in March 2008 as the development bank of the Republic of Austria and is a 100% subsidiary of Oesterreichische Kontrollbank AG (OeKB). In order to provide impetus for sustainable economic growth, it finances and accompanies economically viable and developmentally sound projects in developing and emerging countries. "OeEB has impressively fulfilled this mandate with almost 500 realised projects and a portfolio of EUR 1.62 billion", emphasised Finance Minister Magnus Brunner at the anniversary celebration. "Over the past 15 years, OeEB has established itself as a central player in Austrian development cooperation. Moreover, as the youngest member within the 15 European Development Finance Institutions (EDFIs), it already ranks seventh in terms of portfolio. All employees can be justifiably proud of this development."
The executive board members Sabine Gaber and Michael Wancata also looked back on the developments of the past 15 years: "We have grown from five employees at the beginning to currently more than 70, have continuously expanded our portfolio and established ourselves as a reliable partner, especially in very challenging times such as the financial crisis or the COVID 19 pandemic."
Mobilisation of the private sector
Currently, the effects of the war in Ukraine and high inflation are posing major challenges, especially for developing and emerging countries, and in some cases considerably restricting their financial leeway. Mobilising funds from the private sector is therefore more important than ever. Michael Wancata: "The Gutmann OeEB Impact Fund, which we initiated together with Bank Gutmann at the end of 2019, successfully completed the capital raising phase in April last year and reached its final closing with EUR 72 million. We are thus giving private investors the opportunity to invest their capital in a profitable and meaningful way."
Important contribution to climate protection
Developing countries are also disproportionately affected by climate change. Heat, droughts and water shortages hinder economic development and the way out of poverty for many people. "That is why climate protection is firmly anchored in our corporate strategy as a cross-cutting issue. OeEB is the largest private contributor to international climate finance in Austria, and more than 40 % of our portfolio is made up of climate relevant projects. We are therefore very proud that we were able to further expand our commitment to combating the climate crisis last year in particular", says Sabine Gaber.
Expanded engagement in Africa
Another strategic focus is the expansion of activities in Africa and the world's least developed countries. This April, the Federal Ministry of Finance and OeEB therefore extended the African-Austrian SME Investment Facility (AAIF+), which was launched at the end of 2018, for another three years. Through the AAIF, the BMF provides a total of EUR 30 million for small and medium-sized enterprises from Austria or the European Union that want to invest in Africa. The African continent offers numerous opportunities for Austrian companies and has particularly high potential in the areas of renewable energy, environmental technology, infrastructure, and the manufacturing industry.