EBRD steps up support for emerging economies as challenges persist

By Anthony Williams

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EBRD steps up support for emerging economies

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is responding vigorously in support of emerging countries that are continuing to face persistent economic challenges, EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti said.

The President told the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg the Bank was investing strongly across its countries of operations.

He expected the EBRD to deliver financing of €8.5 billion in 2014 in projects that had a clear impact on the people of the region and which changed their lives for the better.

The President noted that the countries where the EBRD worked were being negative affected by current geopolitical tensions. Russia was facing stagnation, with the slowdown having a knock on impact on other eastern European and central Asian countries. Ukraine’s economy was contracting sharply.

“The EBRD is reacting to these economic challenges,” Sir Suma told the Assembly. The Bank was ramping up its support for Ukraine, boosting its investments, including returning to the public sector. Elsewhere the EBRD was assessing how it could provide additional support.

The President said the EBRD had evolved since its creation in 1991, successfully applying its own particular skills to new geographical areas in light of changing global circumstances.

“The EBRD has a huge geographical footprint, marking it out as different to other Regional Development Banks. We are a semi-global Bank, operating in three continents – Europe, Asia and Africa…,” Sir Suma said.

He noted that the Bank’s track record in the energy sphere had led to demand for its involvement even beyond its current geographic borders.

“The Bank’s skills in the area of energy efficiency are now much in demand globally, and we are happy to lend our expertise to those who want it outside our regions,” the President said.

The importance of EBRD’s investments in energy had been thrown into particular relief because of the potential impact of current tensions on European energy supplies. “The EBRD has been doing much work in this area, and will continue in its efforts to increase energy security in central and eastern Europe,” the President said.

Energy security was being addressed by investment in energy storage as well as energy transport, in addition to the important role played by investments in energy efficiency. “Energy efficiency and energy security are two sides of the same coin,” he added.

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