The EBRD is actively developing open and sustainable market economies and boosting growth in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, Lebanon and the West Bank and Gaza. Its focus has been on making the economies of the southern and eastern Mediterranean region more competitive and resilient, fostering expansion of the private sector and promoting policy dialogue.
The EBRD has invested over €6 billion in more than 150 projects in the region to date. The projects range from developing a wind farm in Morocco to supporting dairy producers in Egypt and olive oil producers in Tunisia. In addition, the Bank has provided well over €250 million in technical assistance funded by its donors and shareholders.
The EBRD has also made significant contributions to international efforts to tackle the refugee crisis caused by the civil war in Syria. The priorities have been helping host countries in the SEMED region cope with the economic strains of large-scale migration and engaging the private sector to provide sustainable livelihoods for refugees. With a financing package of €900 million, the EBRD will be able to invest up to €500 million in new transactions subject to mobilising an additional €400 million in grants and it is preparing projects in the private sector and infrastructure to support the refugee hosting communities.
In addition, the EBRD will provide support and expertise through policy dialogue, capacity building and other forms of technical assistance.
EBRD SEMED Business Forum
Since 2015, the EBRD has organised business forums in the SEMED region with the aim of fostering regular dialogue between the public and private sector and to promote investments. The forums bring together key policy-makers, government officials, investors and prominent local business people to discuss the business outlook in the region, as well as challenges and opportunities. Forums have so far been held in Shkirat, Morocco (2015) and Cairo, Egypt (2017). Gathering over 900 participants, the 2017 forum also saw signing of projects worth over €300 million.
Focus of our investments in SEMED
Alongside governments of the region, the EBRD focuses on:
In addition, the EBRD works on promoting gender equality and inclusion through its Women in Business programme. One of the programme’s initiatives is working with the National Bank of Egypt (NBE) to strengthen the role of female entrepreneurs in the Egyptian economy. This involves providing a comprehensive package of financial and technical support for Egyptian women who are either starting up a business or expanding their existing one.
Video: Bringing power to rural Morocco
The EBRD and its donors are backing the government’s investment plan to bring 24/7 electricity access to over 1200 rural villages in Morocco for the very first time.
The EBRD’s expansion into the SEMED region began in May 2011 in the aftermath of the Arab uprising.
Under the Deauville Partnership, the G8 countries announced their backing of countries that were witnessing dramatic political change and requested the EBRD’s support, describing it as a “unique instrument” in its work in “central and eastern European countries engaged in the same dynamics.”
“The changes underway in the Middle East and North Africa are historic and have the potential to open the door to the kind of transformation that occurred in central and eastern Europe after the fall of the Berlin Wall,” the G8 declared in its statement on the “Arab Spring” approved at Deauville in May 2011.
The EBRD responded swiftly to this call from the international community to become part of the SEMED region’s transition to a more efficient and sustainable market economy.
The EBRD’s shareholders agreed on 30 September 2011 to extend the geographical mandate to the southern and eastern Mediterranean. Donors to the EBRD, including the European Union (EU) and contributors to the SEMED Multi-Donor Account, supported the first phase of the EBRD’s involvement in the new region through technical cooperation activities in preparation for investment projects.
During this early period of engagement, the EBRD also staged successful conferences under its Transition to Transition (T2T) Initiative, a forum that provided for an exchange of knowledge and experiences between the SEMED region and countries where the EBRD had already been investing for many years.
In 2012, the EBRD’s shareholders approved the creation of a €1 billion special fund to launch investments in the four countries before it started using its own capital.
Lebanon joined the EBRD as a shareholder in July 2017 and became a country of operations in September of the same year.