2nd July 2022, Skopje – EBRD funding in the amount of EUR 192 million and WBIF investment grant in the amount of EUR 30 million, or EUR 222 million in total, will be used for financial close as regards the construction of both the second sub-section of Skopje – Blace motorway and Oslmej 2 and Bitola photovoltaic power plants. Loan Agreements for implementation of these major infrastructure projects were signed by the Minister of Finance, Fatmir Besimi, EBRD Director, Infrastructure Europe, Susan Goeransson, EBRD Head of North Macedonia, Andi Aranitasi, Director of the Public Enterprise for State Roads, Ejup Rustemi, and ESM General Director, Vasko Kovachevski. Minister of Economy, Kreshnik Bekteshi, Minister of Transport and Communications, Blagoj Bochvarski, and EU Ambassador, David Geer, also attended the signing ceremony.
“Today, we are signing two important Loan Agreements with EBRD, which are of crucial significance for the development of our country, since they provide funds for implementation of Skopje–Kosovo Border Motorway Project and ESM Solar PV Transition Project”, Minister Besimi pointed out following the signing of the Guarantee Agreements for both projects.
He went on by saying that project implementation is our primary objective, given their considerable significance for the progress of our country, as well as that support extended by our lifelong partners, such as EBRD and EU, is of huge importance.
More specifically, as regards Skopje-Kosovo Border Motorway Project – second phase, i.e. second subsection, totalling EUR 194 million, EUR 167.6 million is provided as EBRD funds under the Loan Agreement. In addition, EUR 20.82 million is provided as WBIF investment grant, EUR 5.68 million as a grant for technical assistance under the same instrument, with additional EBRD grant amounting to EUR 0.35 million, aimed at preparing e-mobility national strategy and action plan on road infrastructure.
Under the second Loan Agreement, EUR 25.5 million is provided for implementation of ESM Solar PV Transition Project, including the construction of Oslomej 2 Photovoltaic Power Plant 2 with installed capacity of 10 MW and Bitola Photovoltaic Power Plant with installed capacity of 20 MW. Additional EUR 5 million for the respective Project is provided as WBIF instrument grant.
As EBRD said, these are projects with tangible impact on improving the living conditions of the citizens.
“This project is one example of the Bank’s work to improve both transport and municipal infrastructure in North Macedonia. These will have a tangible impact on both people’s every-day lives and trade activities across the region and with the EU. We are happy to take the next step in this journey to support Public Enterprise for State Roads by financing this vital road section, together with our key partner, the European Union”, Susan Goeransson, EBRD Director, Infrastructure Europe, said.
Minister of Transport and Communications, Blagoj Bochvarski pointed out that today’s loan agreement signing proves both the dedication of the economic team of the Government and the commitment to continuous development of the road corridors. “If Skopje – Blace motorway was just a project put down on paper several years ago, today heavy construction machinery is put in operation intensively working on its construction”, Bochvarski said.
Ambassador David Geer, Head of the EU Delegation to North Macedonia, pointed out that through the WBIF and with the support of EBRD, we are putting the Connectivity agenda on track. “A globally connected Europe is beneficial for the economy, but also for the economies and for the growth of the accession countries. Supporting the transport connectivity between Kosovo and North Macedonia is a major opportunity for further advancement of trade relations and for stronger regional economic development”, Ambassador Geer pointed out.
As for the PV power plants project, he said that we are seeing concrete actions in materialising the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans and in turning the Economic and Investment Plan into reality.
“The WBIF investment grant and the EBRD Loan, supporting the transformation of Oslomej and Bitola power plants from coal based to solar energy, represent a clear indication that the country is taking the right steps – moving to green energy, while implementing a socially just transition process. This investment was long overdue, and comes at the right time for North Macedonia, ensuring clean and secure energy supplies”, Ambassador Geer said.
Minister Bekteshi underlined that both this investment will contribute to job creation, with positive effects on the social aspect in both regions where construction of the two photovoltaic power plant is planned, and the implementation of this project is of exceptional importance, especially amid prevalent energy crisis in Europe and globally.
According to Andi Aranitasi, EBRD Head of North Macedonia, construction of Oslomej 2 and Bitola PV plants is a very important project for the energy transition of the country. “It is a continuation of our previous work in backing the ambitious decarbonisation plans of North Macedonia through the support for the organization of solar PV tenders and for the construction of the first ever utility scale solar PV plant in the country, also at Oslomej. The Project will help address the need for energy security and sustainability in a competitive and affordable manner through investments that will create high-quality jobs, create new business ecosystems, while reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions”, Aranitasi said.
EBRD is among the major institutional investor in North Macedonia, with more than EUR 2.2 billion invested in 160 projects in the country to date.