IFC Cities Initiative arrives in Ukraine

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, is providing a 12.5 million-euro loan to the city of Mariupol, Ukraine, to purchase 64 modern and environmentally friendly buses that will double the passenger capacity of the public bus system while making it more accessible to people with limited incomes.

The 13-year loan, IFC’s first in Ukraine under its Cities Initiative, will also help rehabilitate Mariupol’s existing public transportation infrastructure, including a bus depot, bus workshop tools and equipment, and a traffic planning and management system. Mariupol is Ukraine’s 10th largest city, with a population of nearly 450,000.

“We are systematically improving the transport infrastructure of Mariupol. In the last three years, we have increased our municipal transport fleet by 113 new, modern, efficient and comfortable buses. And it is just the beginning. We are committed to do more and rely on our international partners to help Mariupol achieve its ambitious plans,” said Vadym Boichenko, Mariupol’s mayor.

“IFC is committed to help Ukrainian cities address their most pressing infrastructure challenges so they can improve citizen’s living standards and attract private investment that promotes economic growth,” said Wiebke Schloemer, IFC regional director for Europe and Central Asia. “This announcement is the first step in the building of a long-term strategic partnership to help Ukraine build sustainable cities.”

IFC’s engagement with Mariupol includes a significant technical-assistance programme. Through its Europe and Central Asia Cities Platform, funded by the governments of Austria and Switzerland, IFC is advising the city to improve the operational and financial sustainability of Mariupol’s public transportation company, bolster private sector participation, and support the city’s efforts to develop a sustainable urban transportation master plan.

Seventy per cent of Ukraine’s population lives in cities, which face a significant need for infrastructure investment because of deteriorating public transportation systems. Mariupol has experienced an influx of more than 100,000 refugees since 2014, straining the city’s resources and increasing the financing gap for infrastructure.

IFC’s Cities Initiative supports efforts to build inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable cities that open new markets and create opportunities for all. Under the initiative, IFC has invested in more than 400 city-related projects across more than 70 countries over the past 15 years.