A cooperation pact with the India-based International Solar Alliance (ISA) and a drive for closer ties with Indian companies featured high on the agenda of a trip to New Delhi this week by Sir Suma Chakrabarti, the President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
The EBRD President also held meetings with Indian officials, including Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
During a panel discussion at the Prabodhan Leaders’ Conclave, entitled “Smart Cities: what can India learn and unlearn from Europe”, he presented the Bank’s work to modernise urban infrastructure in the 38 emerging economies where the EBRD invests.
India is not a member of the EBRD, but the EBRD has invested with a number of the top Indian companies in its countries of operations. The Bank is eager to step up the pace of joint investments.
On 2 November, the President signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) that will allow the two institutions to explore opportunities for cooperation in a number of areas.
The FICCI, established in 1927, is the largest and oldest leading business organisation in India. It serves its members from the Indian private and public corporate sectors and multinational firms, drawing its strength from diverse regional chambers of commerce and industry across states, and reaching out to over 250,000 companies.
The EBRD and FICCI will now meet on a regular basis to exchange information and to identify and explore business opportunities across the economies where the EBRD invests.
At the ceremony to sign the accord, Sir Suma said “Today’s signing opens a new chapter in relations between the Bank and India. We are always looking for new partners, such as FICCI, to tap into new networks and to learn more.”
Together with Finance Minister Jaitley, the EBRD President also attended the signing of a joint declaration between the EBRD and International Solar Alliance (ISA), setting out cooperation between the two institutions.
The ISA was launched in November 2015, during the COP21 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris and has created a platform for the promotion of solar energy across its 121 member countries.
The declaration to promote the use of solar energy was signed by Nandita Parshad, the EBRD’s Managing Director for Energy and Natural Resources, and His Excellency Upendra Tripathy, the ISA’s interim Director General.
During the signing, the EBRD President said: “This is a very important agreement for the EBRD, which has always been eager to share its expertise with new partners and also to learn from them. With the ISA we share the vision of sustainable development and of green energy, which ultimately benefits the global economy.”
The EBRD places a high priority on the promotion of renewable energy as part of its overall contribution to combating climate change. The Bank is well on the way to meeting commitments it made in the run-up to the 2015 Paris Agreement of dedicating 40 per cent of its total annual investment to green finance by 2020.
To date, the Bank has invested more than €4 billion directly in renewable energy, supporting projects in over 20 countries and funding more than 6.5 GW of capacity.
The EBRD invests in 38 emerging economies across three continents, according to a set of criteria that aim to make its countries more competitive, better governed, greener, more inclusive, more resilient and more integrated.
To date, the value of joint India-EBRD investment has reached almost €1 billion, mostly in the private sector. The Bank has worked closely with several Indian partners in our countries of operations, including, but not limited to, Tata, EximBank, SREI and Jindal.