The EBRD is underpinning its engagement in Cyprus with the opening of a Resident Office on the island.
The office in Nicosia was opened today by the Minister of Finance of the Republic of Cyprus, Harris Georgiades, and EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti.
The Resident Office will serve as home for the Bank’s investment activities in Cyprus which started earlier this year and already have produced concrete results with the Bank’s participation in a capital raising by Bank of Cyprus, the country’s biggest lender.
Cyprus became a recipient country for EBRD investment following a decision by the Bank’s shareholders in May 2014. The Bank’s engagement in Cyprus is temporary and envisaged to last until 2020. The Bank expects to invest at least €100 million per year in the country.
The EBRD will focus on investments in the financial sector, energy, privatisations and providing finance to projects of individual companies. The Bank’s goal is to support the recovery of the country’s economy which is suffering from a protracted recession following a deep financial crisis.
Sir Suma said: “We are very pleased to open this office today, because it provides us with the necessary infrastructure to deliver on our commitment to Cyprus. We are very ambitious and confident that EBRD investments will strengthen local businesses, especially the small enterprise sector. Reviving this sector is crucial for revitalising growth and creating jobs.”
Mr Georgiades welcomed Sir Suma to Cyprus and thanked him for his personal interest and support. The Minister of Finance expressed his appreciation to the EBRD for its engagement in Cyprus and the opening of the office. “The timing of the EBRD’s engagement in Cyprus could hardly have been more appropriate, as it gave a very positive signal of confidence and trust to the banking system and towards improving the conditions for financial stability at a time when it was most needed. The EBRD with its experience and expertise, and with a wide range of financial instruments, has a unique role to play in Cyprus and will significantly contribute to the reform and recovery of our economy”, Mr. Georgiades said.
According to the decision by its shareholders, the EBRD will operate on the whole territory of Cyprus. The Resident Office will begin its operations with a staff of 9 people, headed by Libor Krkoška, a Senior Banker at the EBRD.
“Our first experiences in Cyprus are promising”, Mr Krkoška said. “We are currently exploring a number of options and assessing potential projects where the EBRD can make a difference for the economy and the people of Cyprus. With our office now in place we shall soon be in a position to deliver.”
The Republic of Cyprus is a founding member of the EBRD and became a shareholder of the Bank in 1991. In 2004, it became a member of the European Union. Following the global financial crisis, Cyprus received a €10 billion international bailout package in 2013. “Cyprus stood ready when our first countries of operations in Central and Eastern Europe needed investment. It is now time for the EBRD and its shareholders to stand by Cyprus ”, Sir Suma said.