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YANGON, 27 November 2018 – "Tha Bar Wa" Project and Savings Banks Foundation for International Cooperation signed MoUs with four leading banks of Myanmar to catalyse green finance for sustainable industrial production. The MoUs formalise technical assistance to banks to increase green SME loans and financial products for sustainable industrial production over the next three years. The MoUs also aim to facilitate business matchmaking between banks and SMEs for green loans.

More than 50 representatives from partner organizations, associate partners and embassies and 7 media organizations attended the signing ceremony that took place at Union of Myanmar Federation of Chambers of Commerce (UMFCCI) in Yangon.

Tha Bar Wa project will provide technical support to build up the banks’ capacity to serve the investment needs of the SMEs through cooperation among World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Myanmar Food Processors and Exporters Association (MFPEA) and Savings Banks Foundation for International Cooperation (SBFIC) under the SWITCH-Asia Programme funded by the European Union (EU).

Johann Hesse, Head of Cooperation, Delegation of the EU to Myanmar gave opening remarks at the event. He said, “The European Union launched the SWITCH-Asia Programme to help interested consumers, businesses and supporting associations in the Asia-Pacific switch to a more sustainable paradigm. Myanmar's natural resources are still relatively intact, but increasingly threatened by plastic pollution and contamination of water bodies. We are proud to support the development of green finance in Myanmar to offer local SMEs in the F&B industry the resources needed for cleaner production and the long-term preservation of the environment.”

Through intensive advice, the banks will learn to adapt their financial products and credit lending processes to respond to the requirements of sustainable industrial production. Sustainable industrial production encompass processes and technologies such as waste water treatment, energy efficient boilers, lighting and heating as well as environmentally friendly air-conditioning and refrigeration.
Gaurav Gupta, Tha Bar Wa Project Manager (interim) said, “We are seeing more and more factory owners interested in adopting green technologies such as waste water treatment, energy efficiency and renewable energy but access to affordable loan designed for such technologies remain a key bottleneck”.

One of the central pillars of "Tha Bar Wa" Project is to support the development of green finance in Myanmar. Tha Bar Wa will cooperate with four Myanmar banks - Ayeyarwaddy Farmers Development Bank, Co-Operative Bank, Myanmar Apex Bank and Myanmar Citizens Bank.

Ilan Wolkov, SBFIC Green Finance expert provided an overview of the support to the partnering banks during the signing ceremony. He explained, “Strengthening local banks in green finance is an essential factor in the green transformation of the Food & Beverage industry – creating a win - win situation benefiting the financial industry, SMEs, the economy and ultimately the population of Myanmar”.

Tha Bar Wa will also work closely with other Green Finance initiatives such as SMART Myanmar to ensure coordination and synergies, with the ultimate objective to strengthen green finance ecosystem in Myanmar. The first Green Credit is expected to be financed towards the end of 2018.