The European Investment Bank, the bank of the European Union, has made a disbursement of EUR 50 million to the Government of Georgia for the procurement of vaccines against COVID-19 through the COVAX facility, as well as other medical equipment essential for the successful treatment of COVID-19 patients. This is the second largest single disbursement for the EIB in Georgia to date, and a part of the EUR 100 million COVID-19 support package for the Georgian healthcare system provided by the EIB.
In 2020 alone, the EIB Group provided EUR 210 million in loans and guarantees to support resilience of Georgia’s healthcare system, and speed up recovery of the national economy from the COVID-19 pandemic. This support package from the EU Bank includes EUR 100 million invested to reinforce the resilience of Georgian healthcare sector, and EUR 110 million provided to the Georgian financial institutions for intermediated lending to local micro and small and medium (SME) enterprises in the country.
The support for the faster recovery of Georgian economy includes additional EUR 250 million extended as guarantees by the European Investment Fund, a part of the EIB Group. These guarantees originate from the InnovFin, a joint EIB – European Commission initiative to support innovative SMEs in the EU and partner countries.
Teresa Czerwinska, Vice President of the EIB, who is in charge of operations in Georgia said: “Vaccines and COVID-19 related medical equipment are today crucial for protecting lives and ending the pandemic as quickly as possible. The EIB is very proud to be able to support Georgia make these key anti-pandemic measures. I am glad to see EIB constantly making significant contributions towards strengthening EU-Georgian partnership, allowing the country to grow and develop. This growing and developing Georgia is a goal shared by the Government and Team Europe, and I look forward to further contributions from the EIB in months and years to come.”
Ekaterine Tikaradze, Minister of Ooccupied Territories, Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia, who is responsible for the country’s COVID-19 response said: “We are very pleased to benefit from the disbursement of EUR 50m from the EIB for the health sector especially during this difficult context. This reaffirms the national commitment to prioritize healthcare sector, to build sustained resilience towards COVID-19 pandemic and to be actively ready for other emerging threats to public health. This disbursement will enable us to combat the pandemic through the purchase of vaccines, the upgrade of essential health infrastructure and the procurement of modern medical equipment to help front-line staffs and hospital institutions. In addition, on behalf of the Ministry, we would like to express our deep and sincere gratitude to the European Investment Bank, it’s leadership and involved employees for their unprecedented support to Georgia during the preparation phase, for the aim to combat the severe crisis caused by the Covid-19 outbreak, with devastating health, economic and social effects.”
Carl Hartzell, EU Ambassador to Georgia said: “The EU continues to stand by Georgia through the pandemic. This disbursement by EIB, the EU bank, adds further support to the health sector and is part of the support package of above 500 million EUR from the EU and Team Europe to assist Georgia and Georgian citizens to cope and recover from COVID-19.
The EIB support the Georgian healthcare sector extended in 2020 allowed modernisation of five key hospitals and clinics across the country, procurement of modern medical equipment, and allowed local financial institutions to create new credit lines for local companies to address liquidity issues, sustain jobs, and finance their investments or expansion plans.
About the EIB:
The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals.
About the EIB and investments in vaccines, treatments and diagnostics for COVID-19:
To date, the EIB has invested €700 million in 20 European meditech and biotech companies working on vaccines, treatments or diagnostics for COVID-19. This includes a €100 million investment in German BioNTech, the company behind the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. Against the backdrop of the health crisis, this financing reflects the EIB’s strong mobilisation to support the development of new and effective treatments for COVID-19. For more information, please contact the EIB Press Office.
The EIB in Georgia:
Since the beginning of its operations in Georgia in 2007, the EIB has invested close to €2 billion in 23 projects in infrastructure, the private sector and climate action. The EIB stepped up its support for the country with the 2014 Association Agreement and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area between Georgia and the European Union, making it the main EIB lending beneficiary per capita in the EU Eastern Neighbourhood.
The EIB finances most projects in Georgia under the EU External Lending Mandate. This provides the EIB with a comprehensive guarantee covered by the EU budget for projects in the fields of social and economic infrastructure, local private sector development and climate action. For more information on the EIB’s activities in Georgia please follow this link.
The InnovFin SME Guarantee Facility is established under the “EU InnovFin Finance for Innovators” initiative developed under Horizon 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. It provides guarantees and counter-guarantees on debt financing of between EUR 25,000 and EUR 7.5 million in order to improve access to loan finance for innovative SMEs and small mid-caps (up to 499 employees).
The facility is managed by the EIF, and is rolled out through financial intermediaries – banks and other financial institutions – in EU Member States and Associated Countries. Under this facility, financial intermediaries are guaranteed by the EU and the EIF against a proportion of their losses incurred on the debt financing covered under the facility.