Time to revisit development financing in wake of coronavirus, EBRD President says

By Anthony Williams
@ebrdtony

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The international community needs to revisit financing goals for the 2030 global development agenda in order to respond to the economic challenge of the coronavirus pandemic, the President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said.

In a discussion hosted by the Atlantic Council, Sir Suma Chakrabarti said there had been a quantum leap in the sums now required to finance development because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The pandemic and economic crisis have set back progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Financing for the SDGs – that have to be delivered by 2030 – was hammered out at the Third International Conference on Financing for Development in Addis Ababa in July 2015 and called for an increase from “billions to trillions“ in funding resources.

Sir Suma noted that the Addis Ababa Action Agenda had called for the delivery of much more private sector finance into the global development system. But, even before the onslaught of the coronavirus, only “stuttering progress” had been made in this regard, he said.

The EBRD President told interviewer Ryan Heath from Politico that following the Covid-19 outbreak, “Whatever numbers we had before, we need to redo them, because the arithmetic has changed completely and the amount of finance that is now required from public and private sources is a quantum much greater”.

He added, “So I would call for a new Addis, to go back and think about the amounts.”

Such a step would require strong leadership, he stressed.

The EBRD has said it will dedicate the entirety of its resources and activities to combatting the impact of the coronavirus on the economies in its region with a crisis response and recovery programme worth €21 billion through to the end of 2021.

The EBRD President said he hoped the Bank could do deliver even more than €21 billion. It had the resources to do so.

The EBRD’s Solidarity Package crisis response and recovery programme includes a €4 billion Resilience Framework providing finance to meet the short-term liquidity and working capital needs of existing clients.

It is also increasing its trade finance support, offering fast-track restructuring for distressed clients, reaching out to new clients and has created a new emergency facility to meet essential infrastructure requirements.

Watch the conversation

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