World Bank approves $1 billion loan for energy facility, women empowerment projects in Turkey
In a statement early on May 23, the Bank said its Board of Executive Directors approved a $600 million loan for the Gas Storage Expansion Project in Turkey.
The project’s aim is to increase the reliability and security of the gas supply in Turkey by expanding the underground gas storage facility near Tuz Gölü ("Salt Lake" in English) in Central Anatolia.
In November 2005, the Bank approved a $325 million loan for a first gas storage project at Tuz Gölü, and in July 2014 it approved an additional financing of $400 million for that initial project, which will provide storage for about one billion cubic meters of gas.
The project will support government efforts to quintuple the size of the storage facility at the same location, read the statement.
The project will be implemented by Turkey’s national gas company, BOTAŞ, and will consist of three components and the lending instrument for the project is a loan with 22.5-years maturity, including a seven-year grace period, according to the World Bank statement.
“The gas storage facility at Tuz Gölü is the first of its kind in Turkey and one of few such projects globally. The facility will play a key role in improving Turkey’s energy security and in enabling flexibility in meeting the growing demand for natural gas among households and businesses.” Zutt continued: “In particular, the facility will help to ensure that enough natural gas is available to consumers at all times, especially when global supplies are tight or when demand escalates suddenly due to winter cold,” said Johannes Zutt, the World Bank’s country director for Turkey.
$400 million loan to boost women’s employment
In a separate statement, the Bank said a $400 million loan was approved for the Inclusive Access to Finance Project in Turkey.
The project’s aim is to improve access to longer-term finance for women-inclusive enterprises and enterprises in less developed sub-regions affected by the influx of Syrians Under Temporary Protection (SuTP), according to the statement.
The project, guaranteed by the Turkish government, will be intermediated by Turkey’s Industrial Development Bank (TSKB), which will be the borrower and implementing agency.
At least 60 percent of the total IBRD loan amount will be earmarked for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) defined as firms employing fewer than 250 people. To ensure a balanced allocation of resources between the two target groups of beneficiaries, at least 30 percent of the total IBRD loan amount will be allocated to women-inclusive companies, and at least 30 percent will be allocated to companies operating in less developed sub-regions.
“The World Bank has been working through various channels to expand the availability of long-term finance in Turkey. Businesses led by women face particular constraints to obtaining finance, and this project is expected to help participating banks to expand their outreach to such businesses,” said Zutt.
“At the same time, Turkey hosts over three million Syrians who have been displaced by the war in their country, and many Syrian refugees live in parts of Turkey that were already less developed. Besides helping women-inclusive businesses, this project also aims to provide better access to finance to businesses active in areas with large refugee communities, thus expanding job opportunities for both the refugees and the Turkish communities that are hosting them,” he added.