Old lessons help EBRD strengthen future prospects

In the wake of the Arab Spring uprisings, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) made the decision to extend its remit to help those countries transitioning towards democracy. The bank's managing director for the southern and eastern Mediterranean region, Hildegard Gacek, explains how expertise and past experience are now enabling the EBRD to assist Egypt, Morocco, Jordan and Tunisia through a period of great economic and political change.

Any country’s experiment with economic and political transformation is a major challenge – a journey up a steep mountain path. Like any alpine ordeal, it demands thorough preparation, adaptation to the new environment and enormous perseverance. Another requirement is carrying the right equipment.

When the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) turned its attention to supporting the Arab Spring countries as they embarked upon the road to transition, we had no illusions about the social and political challenges ahead and the bumps along the road. Such challenges are not new for us and the EBRD is, indeed, well equipped. It can draw on its two decades of experience supporting often tumultuous transition processes in the post-Soviet bloc.

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