EBRD celebrates 20th anniversary of inauguration

By Anthony Williams

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The EBRD celebrates its 20th anniversary on 15 April 2011, reflecting with satisfaction on the contribution it has been able to make to its region since its inauguration two decades ago and equipped, ready and willing to take on future challenges.

Since it began its work in 1991, the EBRD has played a key role in the economic transformation of a region that spreads from the Baltics to Mongolia, through central and eastern Europe, the Balkans, the former Soviet Union and most recently to Turkey.

It has committed over €60 billion to support the modernisation of economies and the development of the private sectors in these countries. In addition, the EBRD mobilised third party-financing to facilitate overall investments worth a total of nearly €180 billion.

Marking the anniversary, EBRD President Thomas Mirow said, “This region has made enormous progress over the last 20 years and the EBRD is very happy to have made its own contribution to this progress.

“My thanks go to the Bank’s founders, who had the foresight to create such a unique insititution with such alacrity, to the staff past and present whose vigour and pioneer spirit made those investments possible and to the Bank’s shareholders for their continued support.”

“But my greatest tribute goes to the countries of the EBRD region itself who embraced the need for change - however hard that seemed at the time and may still seem now - and whose governments and people continue to work towards a better future.”

With its investments, the EBRD has reached out to broad sections of the economies in its region, with the primary aim of promoting a sustainable market economy that can provide higher standards of living and greater prosperity.

It has sought to bolster financial sectors, while providing support for the development of micro, small and medium sized enterprises that create employment.

By far the largest proportion of its investments have been with the private sector, but the EBRD has also made an important contribution to providing better municipal services to cities and towns throughout the region, improving the transport infrastructure and raising standards of the provision of water and other utilities.

One key strand in all EBRD investments has been an emphasis on meeting the highest environmental standards and also preserving energy resources in a region where energy waste has long been and remains an endemic problem.

The EBRD remains committed to its engagement throughout the region, ready to meet continuing challenges even in the more advanced economies, some of whom were hit particularly hard during the global economic crisis.

The Bank has built up a huge reservoir of experience over the last 20 years and is also ready and able to apply its unique skills beyond its current region if requested to do so, while upholding its activities and fulfilling its commitments in its current countries of operations.

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