EBRD and Partners Explore Digitalisation in Green Trade Finance

November 25, 2021/EBRD

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is stepping up its support for the digital transition of trade finance by facilitating test transactions between QNB ALAHLIBanca Comercială Română and UniCredit on the we.trade digital trade platform. The tests will take place through we.trade’s Preview Offering Program, with a special focus on green trade finance.

The Preview Offering Program enables banks and clients around the world to participate in test transactions with we.trade member banks. These banks also receive extensive operational, information technology, sales and marketing, and legal and compliance consultancy services, tailored to their level of digitalisation.

we.trade is owned by 12 European banks, the technology company IBM, and CRIF, a global commercial-credit and business information provider. The platform is based on the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric and runs on the IBM Blockchain Platform.

Digitalisation and green finance are two of the EBRD’s priorities under its current five-year Strategic and Capital Framework. As part of this approach, the EBRD is partnering with digital-solutions providers and banks to support digitalisation in trade finance in and beyond the economies where it operates. The Bank is also exploring possible approaches to sustainability screening and verification to scale up the delivery of green trade finance across its regions.

In addition, the EBRD is working with the International Chamber of Commerce Banking Commission and the International Trade and Forfaiting Association to advance the adoption of legal frameworks to enable digital trade and trade finance.

Francis Malige, EBRD Managing Director, Financial Institutions, commented: “We are pleased to support QNB ALAHLI and Banca Comercială Română in the Preview Offering Program on we.trade and to facilitate their test transactions with UniCredit. Green trade finance is an essential part of green financing, and this makes it all the more important – and urgent – to lift it to a new level with the introduction of new technology. Digitalisation will make trade processes easier, faster and more effective. This will allow our partners to know their markets even better and provide state-of-the-art solutions to address the urgent need for green products and services.”

Mohamed Bedeir, QNB ALAHLI’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “Digital trade can play one of the most vital roles in the post-pandemic global economic recovery. At QNB ALAHLI, we believe in strategically addressing new and sustainable business models that embrace emerging technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence, which are expected to enhance the trade landscape in the very near future, and significantly improving customers’ experience. It gives us great pleasure to cooperate with the EBRD in this interesting project, which meets our mutual objectives and supports the transition towards a greener economy.”

Bogdan Speteanu, Executive Director, Corporate Products at Banca Comercială Română, commented: “Trade finance is in a transformative period that was accelerated by the pandemic. Within this context, we.trade, and its Preview Offering Program supported by the EBRD, is a great initiative and can become a new pillar in this development. The digital transition needs to become the mantra of the entire trade ecosystem, which includes banks, corporates, innovators and trade bodies, in order to encourage green financing. At Banca Comercială Română, we have technology and education at the core of our vision and we believe that this is an important step in preparing the future of trade finance.”

Francesca Nenci, Global Head, Trade Finance at UniCredit, said: “Clients are increasingly asking to use digital platforms to improve their internal processes. Trade finance digitalisation is the only possible choice to enhance the sustainability of this business for our clients. We are therefore pleased to join the EBRD in its effort to support digital transition in trade finance and, specifically, in experimenting with innovative digital solutions, such as we.trade.

QNB ALAHLI, Banca Comercială Română and UniCredit are participants in the EBRD’s Trade Facilitation Programme (TFP), launched in 1999 to promote foreign trade to, from and among the economies in which the EBRD operates. Through the programme, the EBRD provides guarantees to international confirming banks and short-term loans to selected banks and factoring companies for on-lending to local exporters, importers and distributors. The TFP currently includes more than 100 partner banks in 30 economies where the EBRD invests and more than 800 confirming banks worldwide.

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