EBRD President Renaud-Basso to pay first official visit to Serbia

By Axel  Reiserer

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Odile Renaud-Basso assumes office as EBRD president

  • Meetings with Prime Minister Ana Brnabic and government
  • Focus on post-Covid recovery and greening economy
  • EBRD set new investment record of €679 million in Serbia in 2020

Marking 20 years of Serbia’s membership in the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) as well as record investments in 2020, EBRD President Odile Renaud-Basso will pay her first official visit to Serbia on 18 and 19 March in a virtual format for meetings with the government and the private sector.

As travelling and physical meetings continue to be disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic, the EBRD President will leverage digital platforms, which have profoundly reshaped ways of working and international relations over the past year.

During her visit the EBRD President will meet in a joint session the Prime Minister of Serbia Ana Brnabić and  Minister of Finance and EBRD Governor, Siniša Mali. She will also meet Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Mining and Energy, Zorana Mihajlović.

President Renaud-Basso said: “The impact of the EBRD’s investments in Serbia over the past 20 years is visible everywhere, from our support for the private sector and small businesses, strengthening the banking sector, investment in road and railway infrastructure, environment and – lately and increasingly – in renewable energy and energy efficiency. I look forward to meeting the Serbian government and our business partners to discuss how we can continue to work together on further modernising, digitalising and greening the Serbian economy to yield an inclusive economic growth and enhance competitiveness”.

Focusing on the economy, President Renaud-Basso will also speak with the Governor of the National Bank of Serbia Jorgovanka Tabaković. She will also meet representatives of the private sector and key banks in Serbia. She will also talk to the EU delegation and international financial institutions in Serbia as well as with civil society organisations.

EBRD investments in Serbia 2020

Addressing urgent needs of the economy and laying the foundations for building back better, the EBRD invested a total of €679 million in Serbia in 2020. The Bank provided €450 million in support to the private sector and small businesses through credit lines, in partnership with commercial banks, reaching hundreds of small businesses. In addition to credit lines, beneficiaries received incentive grants and technical assistance funded by the European Union.

Strengthening infrastructure links in the country and the region, the Bank provided a €85 million loan for the construction of the Niš-Pločnik section of the “Peace Highway”. The road will connect Niš with Priština, continue to Tirana and end in Durrës on the Adriatic Sea, improving connectivity and facilitating trade in the region.

In addition to road infrastructure, the Bank also supported Serbia to improve its digital infrastructure and financed a project to extend the fibre broadband network reaching 600 schools and pupils in rural areas. The project will help improve the quality of education in less developed regions.

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