Robust EBRD to step up inclusion drive at Annual Meeting in Cyprus

By Anthony Williams
@ebrdtony


Bank will report on strong operational and financial results

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will unveil plans to ensure that growing prosperity is shared more fairly across the societies where it invests when it holds its Annual Meeting and Business Forum in Cyprus from 9-11 May.

Media guide for EBRD 2017 Annual Meeting in Cyprus

The Bank will launch its first Economic Inclusion Strategy during the Cyprus conference, where it will also report to shareholders on robust operational and financial results.

The EBRD already seeks through its investments and its support for policy reform the greater economic integration of three core groups that regularly remain on the margins of economic progress: women, the young and people living in remote areas.

Under the new Strategy, the Bank will explore opportunities to widen its response to inclusion to encompass other groups such as an ageing workforce, people with disabilities, and refugees. At the same time it will deepen its approach to the inclusion challenge.

Record investments, robust profits, real impact: a strong and successful Bank

At the Annual Meeting, the EBRD will reflect on another year of record investment and a sharp 25 per cent increase in net profits in 2016 to €1 billion, a trend that has continued into the first quarter of this year.

Speaking ahead of the conference, EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti said, “We are heading to Cyprus in a very healthy state. The EBRD is a strong and successful Bank – a vigorous institution that continues to deliver real impact on the ground.”

Under the EBRD’s business model of investing primarily in the private sector, it is largely self-financing and ploughs profits into future projects. It is particularly effective in leveraging other sources of private financing in support of economic development.

The Bank invested a record €9.4 billion in 2016, the same as in 2015, in 378 projects that made a strong contribution to the economic transformation of its countries of operations.

In addition to their discussion of the EBRD’s 2016 performance, the EBRD Governors, who represent the Bank’s 67 shareholders, will debate the challenges of economic inclusion especially in the EBRD regions and look at ways for the Bank to strengthen its engagement.

The increased focus on inclusion reflects trends highlighted in the EBRD’s Transition Report 2016-17, entitled “Transition for all: Equal opportunities in an unequal world”, which revealed a growing sense of inequality and exclusion from a general rise in prosperity in the EBRD regions and beyond.

Historic step for Cyprus

The EBRD’s Annual Meeting in Cyprus is an important step for the country, the first time an international financial institution has held such an event on the island. The decision underscores the EBRD’s support for an economy in which it has been investing since 2014.

The EBRD has invested around €220 million in Cyprus so far, primarily in the financial sector and in support of international trade. It is looking forward in particular to stepping up investment in the green economy.

Cyprus will be able to demonstrate investment opportunities in the country during the conference, stressing a positive economic outlook following recovery from severe economic crisis. Several other recipient countries will also present their investment outlooks, which form part of the Business Forum that takes place alongside the Annual Meeting.

This year’s Business Forum is entitled “Targeting Green and Inclusive Growth: Meeting Regional and Global Challenges” and as usual will bring together high-level experts to discuss topics that are relevant to the EBRD’s business.

The panel discussion topics will reflect the EBRD’s updated transition concept, exploring how best to make the economies of our region competitive, inclusivewell-governedgreenresilient and integrated.

These are the six transition qualities by which the EBRD now measures the effectiveness of its activities and which the Bank believes are best able to equip its regions to deal with the challenges of the 21st century. Panel discussions will be based around the six themes.

The EBRD expects high-level representation from Uzbekistan in Cyprus after recent steps to increase the Bank’s engagement in that country.

Separately, authorities in Lebanon are finalising steps for the country to become an EBRD shareholder with a view shortly to becoming the fifth recipient country in the EBRD’s southern and eastern Mediterranean region, alongside Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia.