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EBRD opens Representative Office for North America in Washington

By Anthony Williams

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Boosting cooperation with leading North American companies

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has opened its first Representative Office for North America in Washington, D.C., continuing its drive to increase the flow of investment to emerging economies in the Bank’s regions.

From the new office, the EBRD will step up cooperation with US, Canadian and Mexican companies and forge stronger ties with existing and potential commercial partners.

EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti said of the decision to open the new office: “This is an important opportunity to seek out prospects for cooperation with leading North American companies that can bring much-needed investment finance, as well as crucial skills, to emerging markets in the EBRD’s regions.”

For its part, the EBRD will be able to share with firms the experience it has gained from working in these markets over the last 25 years. This will benefit companies that may be considering a move to the EBRD’s regions or an increase in their activities there.

Countries in the EBRD’s regions, stretching from central and south-eastern Europe to Central Asia and the southern and eastern Mediterranean, have typically depended heavily on investment flows from the European Union to finance their transition to market economies.

The EBRD has been supporting moves to broaden the scope of foreign investors, especially from Asia and the Americas. In March this year, the EBRD opened its first Representative Office in Tokyo, which will support cooperation with Japanese corporations.

 Canada, Mexico and the United States of America are all founding members of the EBRD and important contributors to the Bank’s work. The US is also the EBRD’s largest individual shareholder.

The Bank’s permanent presence in Washington, D.C. will also help the EBRD strengthen its ties with the authorities in the US, as well as in Canada and Mexico, and increase opportunities for cooperation with other international financial institutions and development organisations with a presence in North America.

The EBRD has appointed a former EBRD senior banker, Michèle Small, as Director and Head of the Representative Office. Ms Small is a UK national and originally joined the EBRD in 1994. She spent many years in Property and Tourism and was Acting Director of this team when she left in 2012 to become an international adviser.

As part of her responsibilities, she managed key client relationships within her sector and business development in the Bank’s countries of operations in central and south-eastern Europe as well as in North America, Ireland and the UK.  She will take up her position in Washington D.C. on 1 May 2016.

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