EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti discussed the opportunities of investing in the EBRD regions with senior Singapore business executives at a conference in Singapore today.
Sir Suma was taking part in one of the regular Global Conversations hosted by International Enterprise Singapore, the agency that supports the activities of Singapore firms abroad.
The EBRD President said the Singapore visit was part of his increasing drive to bring more Asian investment to the EBRD regions to help emerging economies diversify their sources of financing.
Earlier this year he visited India, South Korea and Japan to seek out similar business development opportunities.
The EBRD's most recent project together with a Singapore company was an $80 million investment for the restructuring of the balance sheet of the Turkish port of Mersin.
The financing - together with the PSA International, the Singapore-based global port operator, -- also supported the expansion of the Turkish port's activities.
Sir Suma said he believed the eurozone economy, whose performance has a major impact on emerging Europe, was bottoming out even though growth remained anaemic.
The region was moving away from its banking and liquidity crisis. He expected a further push for reforms across Europe following elections this weekend in Germany.
Asked about Russia's prospects, the EBRD President was optimistic about the outlook. Despite the current slowdown, the government was convinced that "diversification has to be the name of the game". He also believed Russia should receive more credit for the efforts it has taken to improve the business climate.
The EBRD remains firmly committed to Russia, its largest country of operations where it has invested a total of more than €23 billion in over 700 individual projects.
Speaking of the advantages of working with the EBRD, Sir Suma pointed out that the Bank has built up strong relationships in the countries where it is active. Its role as largest foreign investor in most countries meant it could get through to policy makers.
"We take up difficult issues" he said, adding, "working with us does do something to reduce political risk". He also pointed to the EBRD's very low level of non-performing loans.
The conference concluded with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Sir Suma and IE Singapore CEO Teo Eng Cheong aimed at deepening the relationship between the two organisations and providing for technical cooperation and capacity building.