EBRD to step up efforts in drive to support reforms

By Anthony Williams
@ebrdtony

The EBRD will step up its drive to help countries adopt crucial new reforms as they face another economically challenging year, the Bank’s President, Sir Suma Chakrabarti, said.

He also raised the possibility of increasing the EBRD’s support for small and medium-sized enterprises and of seeking a wider range of sources of investment for EBRD countries.

This year would be economically difficult for many EBRD countries and they also faced political challenges, Sir Suma said.

“The EBRD stands ready to support partner governments and private sector clients in their reform efforts,” he told shareholders at the Bank’s Annual Meeting in Istanbul.

The EBRD President said democratic reforms had progressed in a number of countries that had recently embarked on the path to transition. But they had stagnated in others. Corruption was also a serious problem in a number of countries that had to be addressed if investment was to return to pre-crisis level.

“Governments almost everywhere need to ensure that they pursue crucial economic and political reforms and improve their business and investment climates,” Sir Suma said.

If governments and corporates failed to take action now, they would find it harder to benefit from a future upturn in the global economy.

In the current climate of sluggish global investment activity, Sir Suma said the Bank would put an even greater focus on seeking out projects aimed specifically at meeting the changing demands of its client countries.

Together with the World Bank and the European Investment Bank, the EBRD was working to bolster growth and reform when countries were still consolidating their budgets and suffering from economic weakness.

In its own drive to reinvigorate growth the EBRD would examine its priorities, he said. “We could further step up support to underserved micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, both through the banking system and, where appropriate, directly.”

He said the EBRD would also examine different ways of attracting long-time finance to EBRD economies. The Bank wanted to attract investment from all parts of the world to the EBRD’s regions, he said.