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EBRD and AFD Group to strengthen cooperation

By Nibal Zgheib

Addressing key development challenges in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Groupe Agence Française de Développement (AFD), through its private-sector financing arm, Proparco, are strengthening their cooperation in strategic priority areas, such as private-sector development, the green economy and inclusive development.

Responding to a call for increased collaboration by European development actors in the context of current discussions on the European financial architecture for development, the two institutions aim to boost the impact of their investments.

The EBRD and AFD Group signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 17 May 2021, following this up with a more detailed Cooperation Agreement between the EBRD and Proparco on 19 May 2021, emphasising their cooperation on private-sector development priorities.

EBRD President Odile Renaud-Basso said: “We are very happy to strengthen our cooperation with AFD and Proparco to achieve sustainable and inclusive development. We are ready to increase our collaboration and use our expertise to meet the ambitious agenda of the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. The urgency to build back better following the Covid-19 pandemic makes this agenda more relevant than ever.”

AFD Group CEO Rémy Rioux said: “Enhancing cooperation between public financial institutions will be key to supporting a climate-resilient recovery and the development of the private sector in the era of Covid-19. I am delighted that the EBRD and AFD Group – through its private-sector financing arm Proparco, with the other European development finance institutions – are joining forces in this endeavour, building on the financial momentum sparked by the Finance in Common coalition, which brings together 450 public development banks around the world and confirms that European actors are at the forefront of solving development challenges.”

Proparco CEO Grégory Clemente said: “We are convinced that the private sector will be the engine of the global recovery and we are pleased to increase our cooperation with the EBRD to better address private-sector needs in our countries of operation.”

In the MoU, both institutions express their intention to work together to tackle climate change by investing in sustainable cities and the public-sector infrastructure necessary for private-sector development, contributing to the transition to a green economy and reducing carbon footprints. The EBRD and AFD will also join forces to promote equal opportunities for disadvantaged groups, including women and youth, and to accelerate the digital transition.

The institutions want to intensify their cooperation and strengthen their partnership in strategic areas, in particular, by seeking to increase the frequency and volume of their co-financing, by enhancing their collaboration to create efficiencies and strengthen their impact, and by promoting knowledge sharing.

The EBRD’s Cooperation Agreement with Proparco aims to further enhance their co-financing collaboration in the private sector through streamlined methods of operational cooperation. The Cooperation Agreement is in line with the principles set out in the EBRD and EDFI Memorandum of Understanding signed in early 2021.

The EBRD was set up in 1991 to support countries in their transition to market economies and to promote the development of the private sector. Today, the Bank invests in 38 economies across Europa, Asia and Africa and has 71 shareholders around the world.

AFD Group is a bilateral development finance institution established in 1941 and committed to reducing poverty, fostering economic development and social progress and helping to protect the global public good in the countries where it operates. Proparco is its private-sector financing arm and has been promoting sustainable economic, social and environmental development for more than 40 years.

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