EBRD maps out progress in extending geographic mandate at G8 Marseille talks

By Anthony Williams

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The EBRD mapped out the progress it had made in extending its mandate to cover the countries of the southern and eastern Mediterranean region in 10 September talks in Marseille that built on a programme of economic support for emerging Arab democracies.

President Thomas Mirow attended a meeting of Group of 8 (G-8) Finance Ministers in the southern French city, that also brought together the heads of other international financial institutions (IFIs) as well as senior representatives from Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia. These four countries are members of the Deauville Partnership that was launched in May this year under the French Presidency of the G-8 in response to the events of the Arab Spring.

A representative from Libya also attended the meeting as an observer.

In a statement released after the meeting, the IFIs said: “transition in this region provided countries with unique opportunities but it also entailed serious economic challenges. These countries are facing growing social and financial strains,” they said. The statement said “it was critical that support for this region should not only include development aid but also enhanced access to developed country markets”.

The IFIs strongly endorsed the economic framework of the Deauville Partnership, which they noted was tailored to support the economic programmes of individual countries. They welcomed the emphasis on the need for programmes to be “home-grown and driven by plans elaborated by the Partnership Countries themselves”.

It was also important that all of the IFIs carefully coordinated their programmes and they announced the creation of a Deauville Partnership coordination platform that would facilitate information sharing, coordinate monitoring and identify opportunities for collaboration on financing, technical assistance, and policy and analytical work.

The statement said the EBRD had made significant progress in the institutional steps required to allow it to start operations in the new region. In preparation for future engagement, the EBRD concluded Memorandums of Understanding with the African Development Bank and the Islamic Development Bank in Marseille, outlining how the institutions would cooperate in the region in the future.

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