The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has signed an agreement with India’s commerce and industry association ASSOCHAM with the aim of strengthening ties between the Bank and Indian corporations in the regions where the EBRD is active.
The EBRD’s First Vice President Phil Bennett signed a Memorandum of Understanding in London on 29 July with Sunil Kanoria, the President-Elect of ASSOCHAM, the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India, that should lead to increased cooperation between the two organisations and facilitate co-financing opportunities.
The EBRD was established in 1991 to support the transition to market economies of countries in eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. It has since extended its geographic reach and is also working to bolster the private sector in Turkey and in countries in North Africa and the Middle East as well as Cyprus and Greece.
ASSOCHAM was established in 1920 and now comprises over 400 chambers and trade associations. It currently serves over 450,000 members across India.
The two organisations have already been working closely over the last few years and the signing of the MOU is expected to strengthen this relationship.
Speaking at a ceremony at the EBRD’s London Headquarters, Mr Bennett said he was very pleased to be signing an agreement that would strengthen further the close links between the EBRD and Indian industry.
“We already work with some very high quality Indian companies in our countries of operations. By deepening our cooperation with ASSOCHAM we will be able to reach out to many more Indian partners as we invest to support countries that are still making the transition to market economies,” he said.
The EBRD has already had a number of successful investments in cooperation with Indian companies, but there was scope to do much more, Mr Bennett said.
“What I feel is that mid-sized companies are now expanding internationally and looking for new markets. It was specifically these smaller companies that could benefit most from the support of the EBRD", said Mr Kanoria.
In addition to Russia, he saw interest in Central Asian countries such as Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan. But further from home he also saw potential in Jordan as well as in Greece, the EBRD’s newest country of operations.
The Bank has so far invested a total of over €870 million together with Indian firms.
The EBRD has also worked in Georgia with the JSW steel group, with whom it invested in a steel mill in the town of Rustavi and in Russia where it teamed up with Tata Beverages.
In addition the EBRD has a strong relationship with SREI Leasing and has cooperated with the company on its Moscow operations.