EBRD 2013 Annual Meeting: innovation, investment, Istanbul

By Svitlana  Pyrkalo

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The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is holding its Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors and Business Forum in Istanbul, Turkey, on 10-11 May 2013. This is the first time an Annual Meeting is being held outside the “traditional” EBRD region of post-communist countries.  

The meeting will focus on the economic challenges in the region from Europe to North Africa, where the Bank is now also active, and on ways to return to growth – be it through technological and financial innovation, increasing competitiveness, supporting dynamic small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) or better opportunities for entrepreneurial talent, such as women business owners.

Speakers at the event will include the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, political leaders from the four emerging Arab democracies where the EBRD is now investing, EBRD governors and management and renowned experts from across the region of the Bank’s operations and shareholder countries.

Among the many events, investment outlook sessions for Turkey will explore Istanbul’s ambition of becoming a financial hub and Turkey’s overall economic success and direction; a debate on capital markets will highlight the EBRD’s drive to help the development of local currency lending and local capital markets; and a presentation of the EBRD’s Sustainable Resource Initiative will focus on the success story of Turkey’s sustainable energy development.

During the Annual Meeting, the EBRD will also publish its latest economic forecast for the region, including for the southern and eastern Mediterranean.

As the eurozone crisis continues to have an impact on EBRD economies and access to finance remains limited, the Bank invested at crisis levels in 2012, with €8.9 billion committed in a record 393 projects.

The Bank’s experience from recent years shows that while many big corporations have put their expansion plans on hold, it is dynamic, innovative smaller companies that can help prepare the ground for the return of the economic growth. “The EBRD will put ever more effort into helping small and medium-sized companies throughout the region to get better access to financing and to increase cross-border cooperation,” said EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti. He added: “In this period of continued weak growth it is particularly important for the region to tackle important structural reforms. The EBRD will support the region in this drive.”

The EBRD, founded in 1991 to help the post-communist countries on their way to democracy and the market economy, is now active in 34 countries, after investments in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia started last year and Kosovo became a member of the EBRD in December 2012.

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