The Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Lithuania together with VIPA, a Lithuanian public investment development agency, organised a yet another conference of the Three Seas Initiative Investment Fund held on 17 November in Vilnius. The participants discussed the fund’s development, its immediate plans and Lithuania’s investment needs in three areas – relating to transport, energy and digital infrastructure.
During the conference, individual speakers talked about the role of the Three Seas Initiative Investment Fund (3SIIF) and its impact on the development of the countries forming part of the region.
“The Three Seas countries share not only their geographical location, but also their culture and history. This constitutes a very solid foundation we may build something spectacular on. The Three Seas Initiative Investment Fund will stimulate the economies of the region, which in the long run will then translate into increases in the GDP of the individual states. Each 1% of the GDP invested in infrastructure may in the future bring profits up to 2-2.5% of the GDP” – said Beata Daszyńska-Muzyczka, president of the management board of BGK, Polish Development Bank and chairperson of the supervisory board of the Three Seas Initiative Investment Fund.
“Our region is in great need of investments. They are estimated at EUR 600 billion; however, it needs to be emphasised that this amount would allow us only to match the level of how the Western infrastructure has developed. Moreover, what we are talking here about concerns three investment areas only – transport, energy and digital infrastructure – and there are more areas to be taken account of, such as education, health service and monument protection” – Beata Daszyńska-Muzyczka argued.
“The markets of the Three Seas are very much alike, and we remain stable as a region. Owing to this, the investors see great potential in our Fund. With our actions, we do not wish to substitute but supplement other types of financing, such as EU subsidies or own funds” – argued Paweł Nierada, first vice-president of BGK and member of the supervisory board of the Three Seas Initiative Investment Fund.
Deputy Minister of Finance of the Republic of Lithuania Gediminas Norkunas emphasised how many benefits can the fund seen as a stimulus for the development of the economies bring owing to the cooperation of individual markets. Arnoldas Prankevicius, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Lithuania, pointed to the importance of energy and transport independence of the entire region. Director General of VIPA Gvidas Darguzas, on the other hand, believes that thanks to such conferences the awareness of 3SIIF in Lithuania will increase, with new investments aiming to, for instance, improve access to digital solutions among the citizens being of great interest for the country.
“The scale of investments made by us usually amounts to EUR 50–250 million. We may, however, also make smaller investments, in smaller economies of the Three Seas region” – said Joe Philipsz, Amber Infrastructure Investment Director for the Three Seas Initiative Investment Fund. He also presented the process of selection of projects for financing and described the most important advantages of the region as seen by a potential investor.
During the conference, the participants also discussed the specific investment needs in Lithuania in the area of transport, energy and digital infrastructure, as well as projects that would most effectively address the challenges posed.
Rolandas Zukas from the Lithuanian EPSO-G energy company presented the plans for the development of the energy infrastructure. Saulius Kerza from the Ministry of Transport and Communications of the Republic of Lithuania emphasised how important it is to continue the infrastructure investments – roads, rail connections, ports and airports.
BGK is the initiator, originator and co-founder of the Three Seas Initiative Investment Fund. So far, 10 investors (of which 9 constitute banks and development institutions from: Poland, Romania, Latvia, Estonia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Hungary and Lithuania) made it possible for the fund to accumulate almost a one billion euro capital, with three infrastructure investments being implemented to this day.