The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) invested a record €846 million in Serbia last year, up by nearly €200 million from 2022 and well above the previous all-time high of €679 million in 2020.
Matteo Colangeli, EBRD Regional Director for the Western Balkans said: “We are very proud of our results in Serbia last year, delivering record investment and support for the economy. Serbia is among the EBRD’s five largest markets for the first time, all the more remarkable given the size of its economy. We financed impactful projects in the energy sector, in infrastructure, innovation, attracting foreign direct investment and supporting small and medium-sized enterprises. This was in parallel to expanding our presence on the ground, with our Belgrade regional hub growing to more than 60 people.”
In 2023, the Bank financed 28 projects in Serbia, with a strong focus on the green transition, digital advancement and economic inclusion. The year also saw approval of the Bank’s new country strategy to 2028, which has three key priorities: (i) accelerating Serbia’s green energy transition; (ii) enhancing private-sector competitiveness, productivity and access to finance; and (iii) financing sustainable infrastructure and strengthening regional connectivity.
Beyond the record numbers, it was also a year of milestones. Energy took centre stage, with a €300 million loan to state-owned utility EPS, alongside a substantial package of technical assistance to support reforms at the company and in the sector more broadly. The EBRD also played a key role in preparing and completing the country’s inaugural wind and solar energy auction – the first in a three-year-plan to bring contracts for 1,300 MW of renewables to market.
The year also saw strong results in infrastructure. The Bank invested in telecom towers and continued to finance the railway sector with a loan to Srbija Voz, the national rail passenger operator. It also continued to expand its climate resilience and irrigation programme. For the first time, the EBRD also invested in innovation-enabling infrastructure with an €80 million loan for the Niš, Čačak and Kruševac science and technology parks and the Bio4 campus in Belgrade
As always, the Bank was highly active in the private sector, financing larger foreign direct investment, such as BIG retail parks, and supporting local SMEs with more than €300 million in loans and trade finance channelled through partner banks. The EBRD also continued to scale up its work to promote skills training, including through its advisory programme for SMEs and start-ups.
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