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EBRD reaches €1.5 billion investments in southern and eastern Mediterranean region

By Nibal Zgheib

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Only two years after the start of its operations in the southern and eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) region, the EBRD has reached a milestone today with a total of €1.5 billion investments in 53 projects.
The funds provided are contributing to the development of the private sector and an open market economy in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia.
Hildegard Gacek, EBRD Managing Director for the SEMED region, said: “We are very proud to have acted swiftly and delivered in record time €1.5 billion worth of investments in our new region. This illustrates our commitment to supporting the countries’ transition towards a market-based economy through targeted investments and policy dialogue with the authorities.”
The EBRD responded to the changes in SEMED following the events of 2011 by expanding its activities to the region. The Bank has provided finance to Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia to support economic growth and develop the private sector in these countries. Projects launched since 2012 include the modernisation of Egypt’s railway system, financing renewable energy projects in Jordan, supporting the tourism sector in Morocco and facilitating small and medium-sized enterprises’ (SMEs’) access to finance in Tunisia through local banks.
Going forward, the EBRD will focus in line with governments’ priorities on strengthening the financial sector, promoting foreign trade links and facilitating access to finance to SMEs. The Bank is also promoting sustainable energy through investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, developing infrastructure and municipal services in addition to supporting the agribusiness sector.
To date, over 120 assignments and larger technical cooperation (TC) programmes have been approved for funding; the total donor contributions to those activities exceeding €67 million. Donors such as the European Union and the SEMED Multi Donor Account -funded direct advisory services to MSMEs under Small Business Support programmes, performed by top, local and international consultants. In addition, €16 million in non-TC grants has been made available in the form of risk-sharing, first-loss and capital grants from the EBRD Shareholder Special Fund.
Egypt and Morocco are founding members of the EBRD and became shareholders when the Bank was established in 1991, while Jordan and Tunisia sought the Bank’s membership in 2011.
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