The shareholders of the EBRD today approved plans by the Bank to step up support for the countries where it invests by helping to re-energise their reform agenda and put them back on a path to stronger economic growth.
At the EBRD’s Annual Meeting in Tbilisi, the Board of Governors, which represents the 66 shareholders, endorsed the Bank’s Strategic and Capital Framework which assesses its capital position up until 2020 and outlines three overriding strategic priorities for the coming years.
According to those priorities, the EBRD will strengthen the resilience of the transition process, promote integration and address the global and regional challenges that face countries in three continents from Mongolia on the Chinese border to Morocco on the Mediterranean.
Based on their review of the Bank’s activities, shareholders also confirmed levels of EBRD capital that were agreed in 2010 when there was a capital increase of 50 per cent to €30 billion euros, including an increase in callable capital of €9 billion.
EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti had earlier told governors that the new strategy would allow the EBRD to “help ensure that transition stays its course, be a major investor when others hesitate, and support common goals both locally and globally”.
The proposed framework confirmed that the EBRD had the necessary capital to pursue its mandate without recourse to additional funding despite difficult circumstances.
Reporting to shareholders on the Bank’s recent activities, the President said the EBRD had shown that it does many things well, but three in particular. “It delivers results. It innovates and modernises. And it faces challenges squarely and directly.”
Sir Suma added that the EBRD had responded flexibly and successfully to a difficult operating environment in 2014, a year of considerable change and disruption.
The EBRD had more than doubled its investments in Ukraine and, following shareholder guidance that there should for the time being be no new projects in Russia, it stepped up activities in other countries, including Turkey, Kazakhstan and the southern and eastern Mediterranean region.
As a result, the EBRD had invested a total of €8.9 billion last year, an increase from 2013’s €8.5 billion.
“At a time of geopolitical tensions and economic uncertainty, the Bank can be a bridge-builder and integrator,” Sir Suma said.
In his address, the President paid tribute to the Annual Meeting’s Georgian hosts, noting that in its long history Georgia had witnessed many transformations but demonstrated extraordinary resilience and continuity.
“To judge by the quality of Georgia’s transition towards a market economy over the past 25 years, this is a country that pursues a long-term vision with great determination,” he said. There was still more to do but Georgia could be proud of the results so far.
Watch highlights of EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti's speech.
In his welcome address to the EBRD Board of Governors, Georgia’s Prime Minister, Irakli Garibashvili, thanked the EBRD for the continuing support and the investment of €2.6 billion over 22 years of cooperation.
He highlighted Georgia’s role as regional leader in reform, stated that Georgia’s goal after the Association Agreement and DCFTA signing is further alignment with European standards and values, and invited investors to take advantage of welcoming business climate in the country.
The Chair of the Board of Governors of the EBRD, Harris Georgiades, who is the Minister of Finance of the Republic of Cyprus, highlighted the EBRD’s successful year of operations in 2014 and also expressed his gratitude for its backing of his home country.
“I would add a note of personal thanks for your support to Cyprus during this difficult period,” he said. “The EBRD’s rapid response meant that it is already supporting the economic recovery of Cyprus.”