Jordan requests membership of EBRD

By Anthony Williams

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The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has requested membership of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development with a view to receiving EBRD funding and the Bank’s support for its democratic reforms.

In a letter to EBRD President Thomas Mirow, Jordan’s Acting Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Mohammed Najjar, said that over the last year Jordan had sought to accelerate measures to strengthen the country’s democratic governance.

“The Government believes that the EBRD can play an important role in promoting and sustaining this important process,” Mr Najjar added.

Jordan has now joined Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia in seeking to become a country in which the EBRD invests.

Those four countries are the target of support under the “Deauville Partnership”, launched under the French presidency of the G-8 in May this year to help promote the historic changes under way in some countries in the Middle East and North Africa.

The EBRD’s shareholders are currently considering an extension of the EBRD’s geographic mandate to include the southern and eastern Mediterranean region.

If shareholders agree to this move – a step that would need unanimous approval by all EBRD shareholders – the Bank would aim especially to help promote the development of the private sector, the area where it traditionally provides the bulk of its investments.

After an initial build up period, the EBRD would have the capital capacity to invest up to €2.5 billion a year to emerging Arab democracies without seeking additional funds from shareholders.

It has also stressed that any investment undertaken in the new region would not detract in any way from its commitments to its existing countries of operations, primarily former communist countries in eastern Europe.

New investment would be carried out in close cooperation with other international financial institutions, with each organisation bringing its own individual expertise and skills.

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