OeEB publishes its annual Impact Report today. In it, OeEB reports on the development effects achieved and its contribution to reaching the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The results for 2023 are once again very encouraging. More than 370,000 micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) gained access to financing through cooperation with OeEB. 

"In our Impact Report, we look back on the last year of the strategy period, which ended at the end of 2023, and show the contribution of our projects to strategic goals, for example in the areas of renewable energy, financial inclusion, climate and gender equality. The results are once again a cause for celebration. 49 percent of our projects contributed to SDG 8 - decent work and economic growth. An area that is particularly important to us. We can also report that 35 percent of people employed in projects supported by OeEB are women. A figure that encourages us to focus even more strongly on gender equality in our work," says OeEB Executive Board member Sabine Gaber.

On behalf of the Federal Ministry of Finance (BMF), OeEB invests in economically sustainable and developmentally meaningful private sector projects in developing and emerging countries. In addition to loan financing and equity investments, OeEB also offers accompanying technical assistance measures.

Prospects for over 400,000 employees

"By the end of 2023, OeEB's total project portfolio had reached EUR 1.7 billion. This is not only a new record high, but also confirmation of the significant contribution we are making in emerging and developing countries. At the end of 2023, more than 400,000 people were employed in projects and companies financed by OeEB. With our instruments, we have a lever in our hands that can change the reality and quality of life for many people. Evaluating the development effects achieved is an important parameter for us in order to define future strategies for action," explains Steffen Suhany, who is responsible for the bank-wide risk management on the OeEB Executive Board.

Financial inclusion: USD 1 trillion funding gap for SMEs

The financial inclusion of those who do not yet have access to formal financial services is a major challenge. Worldwide, SMEs are still not sufficiently served by financial institutions. Overall, the World Bank estimates that formal SMEs face a financing gap of around USD 1 trillion. For this reason, OeEB places a clear focus on providing financing for MSMEs (micro, small and medium-sized enterprises). This instrument reaches the poorest population groups most directly. This commitment also corresponds to the targets formulated in SDG 1 - No Poverty.

With this in mind, OeEB, for example, provided USD 5 million to Bank of Maldives plc (BML) in 2023 as part of a USD 40 million credit facility. The funds are used to finance local small and medium-sized enterprises and businesses in the tourism sector in the Maldives, thereby promoting local entrepreneurship and employment.

Gender equality: EUR 138 million for the economic empowerment of women 

Promoting gender equality is one of the key objectives of OeEB's strategy. OeEB therefore reviews all its projects for gender relevance and tries to identify gender flagship projects. Last year, a total of EUR 138 million from OeEB's portfolio was invested in projects to empower women economically. 

With the aim of directly promoting women and their economic activities, OeEB, for example, signed a USD 20 million credit facility with CreditAccess Grameen Limited, India's largest microfinance institution, in 2023. The funds will be used to finance microloans for income-generating activities for women from poor and low-income households. In addition, OeEB was involved in setting up the world's largest gender investment fund and, as an anchor investor, provides EUR 30 million for companies owned or managed by women in developing countries.

43 percent climate-relevant projects in OeEB's total portfolio 

Climate protection is not only firmly anchored in the strategy, but also a clear part of OeEB's self-image. It is therefore all the more pleasing that in 2023 43% of all projects in the portfolio are already classified as climate-relevant. The direct investments within the portfolio alone made it possible to supply over 570,000 people with sustainable, clean energy. Likewise, more than 7,400 GWh of energy was generated from renewable resources as part of OeEB's projects.

In 2023, for example, OeEB invested USD 4 million in Alcazar Energy Partners II ("AEP II"), thereby contributing to the promotion of renewable energy in Eastern Europe, North Africa and Central Asia. The fund focuses on investments in the renewable energy sector, particularly onshore wind- and solar PV projects-measures that not only improve access to electricity, but also create jobs and reduce CO2 emissions.