By Aysu Bicer
ANKARA (AA) – The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is looking to increase its investment in Turkey this year as the economy is set to bounce back, it said on Thursday.
"The year 2019 was challenging for the Turkish economy. It saw a worsening of asset quality in the banking sector and deleveraging by lenders," according to a statement.
However, it added, the EBRD provided €1 billion ($1.1 billion) in debt and equity financing for 35 Turkish projects.
Arvid Tuerkner, EBRD Managing Director for Turkey, said: “In a difficult business environment, our business volume in Turkey remained unchanged in 2019 from the previous year."
He said, the overwhelming majority of EBRD's investment was in the private sector and half of it was in support of Turkey’s sustainability agenda, the country’s blueprint to implement the global development goals.
Tuerkner noted that the EBRD expects the Turkish economy to rebound in 2020, saying as investors look for finance, the bank will aim to support even more investment projects that boost the economy, create jobs and improve people’s lives.
According to the statement, the bank will explore opportunities for Islamic financial products and expects the issuances of Turkish entities to grow.
Also, the EBRD aims to work to expand its Women in Business program and attract new lenders to the initiative.
"A big part of this financing is expected to be in Turkish lira as it was in 2019," the bank said, adding around one-third of the bank’s 2019 financing related to local currency and the development of local capital markets in order to help companies reduce currency risks.
The EBRD marked its 10th year of engagement in Turkey in 2019.
Since 2009 it has invested almost €12 billion ($13.3 billion) in various sectors of the Turkish economy, with almost all investment in the private sector.
The bank’s €6.7 billion ($7.4 billion) Turkey portfolio is the largest among the 38 economies where it invests.