Senior EBRD delegation visits Central Asia

By Sergiy Grytsenko

A senior delegation from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), led by Olivier Descamps, Managing Director for Turkey, Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia, will visit Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyz Republic from 28 February to 11 March. Mr Descamps will be joined by other senior officials.

Over the 9-day visit to Central Asian countries the delegation members will meet senior government representatives of all three countries, as well as parliament speakers, representatives of business and diplomatic communities, and NGOs. They plan to meet with existing and potential EBRD business partners and assess the latest economic and political developments in the context of updating the Bank’s strategies in the respective countries.

During his visit Mr Descamps will express the EBRD’s strong commitment to helping Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyz Republic ensure a more sustainable economic future and also call for further reforms to help enhance the business climate.

“We will tell our counterparts that to secure sustainable economic growth the authorities must further increase their efforts to make the business environment transparent, fair and predictable. While the crisis and the recovery period creates an opportunity to accelerate the pace of reforms, the EBRD remains a committed partner in boosting its activities and our ongoing policy dialogue with central Asian countries,” Mr Descamps said prior to his departure for Turkmenistan, the first country on a visit to Central Asia.

In its latest Transition Report, published in mid November 2010, the EBRD calls for more balanced economies by supporting the process of economic diversification, development of capital markets, energy efficiency, infrastructure development, and agricultural potential recovery.

The EBRD’s commitment to Central Asia is illustrated in last year’s investments. In 2010 the EBRD signed 41 projects in Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan and the Kyrgyz Republic worth €778.3 million (US$ 1.019 billion) in total, while the whole region amounted to 11 per cent of the Bank’s annual business volume.

In its latest economic outlook, published in late January, the EBRD’s Office of the Chief Economist expects the Central Asian economies to return to growth in 2011 with an expansion of GDP of 6.6 per cent on average, with expected 5.5 per cent, 5.0 per cent and 10.0 per cent growth of GDP in Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic and Turkmenistan respectively.