EBRD: time ‘to step up the fight against corruption at grass roots level’

The EBRD is working more closely with small businesses to combat corruption in the countries where it operates, the Bank’s President has said.

While acknowledging that the scale of corruption in some countries is deterring investment both from the EBRD and its clients, Sir Suma identified the SME sector as a key ally in efforts to counter abuses.

‘We are currently placing a strong focus on our financing for small and medium sized enterprises,’ he said on the eve of a keynote speech on corruption delivered today in Paris.

‘I really believe that by working much more intensively with the SME sector, we can step up the fight against corruption at grass roots level as we work with more individual companies.’

Sir Suma also stressed the need to be ‘much more systematic’ in the campaign against corruption and pointed to Ukraine as a country suffering from a chronic economic crisis which was in acute need of a better investment climate.

The EBRD is working together with the Ukrainian authorities, local business associations and international financial institutions to launch a Ukrainian Anti-Corruption Initiative, he noted

‘At the EBRD, we are really convinced that this wider, inclusive, much more open and collaborative approach has now got to be the way forward – not just in Ukraine but elsewhere among emerging economies in our regions.’

Sir Suma delivered his speech to the Annual Anti-Corruption Conference of the International Bar Association in Paris.

The EBRD, owned by 64 countries and two intergovernmental institutions, supports the development of market economies and democracies from central Europe to central Asia and the southern and eastern Mediterranean.