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Knowledge economy

The EBRD's Knowledge Economy Initiative

The EBRD launched its Knowledge Economy Initiative in 2014 to focus its efforts on a common purpose: using the knowledge economy to boost productivity and competitiveness. The initiative will make a difference by:

  • Improving the innovation business environment to encourage companies to innovate, including through technology transfers, become more competitive and seek to move up global value chains through policy dialogue, networking, information sharing and technical cooperation
  • Further developing access to information via availability of broadband, fixed and mobile, particularly in regional areas, to reduce the digital dive within countries and across the EBRD Region
  • Promoting and supporting the ability of traditional industries to innovate through investing in R&D, state-of-the-art technologies, training and skills development, ICT improvements and adoption/adaption of new to the firm technologies
  • Helping to ensure the continuity of, and access to, the chain of financing from angel support, early stage and growth stage to later stage in order to allow smaller innovative companies to bring their ideas, new designs and products to the market.

Investing, directly and indirectly, and using debt, equity and technical assistance instruments under each of these four streams, the EBRD seeks to advance the development of the knowledge economy in the countries where it invests. 

An EBRD investment will be considered to be a ‘knowledge economy’ investment if it facilitates the transfer of skills that can be used by other potential innovators or creates new linkages to potential innovators. The project should have the potential to boost innovative activity by other entities in the local innovation ecosystem.

We recognise that the knowledge economy needs a favourable business environment that is governed by the rule of law, supported by government and free of corruption. As part of the Knowledge Economy Initiative, we work with countries on innovation–related issues such as improving telecoms regulation and developing ecosystems that allow venture capital and private equity firms to grow. We will also look at the impact of intellectual property regimes.

In all cases, the EBRD collaborates with other major stakeholders – including fellow international financial institutions (IFIs) and international organisations, the European Union (EU), business associations and institutional investors – to ensure a co-ordinated approach.

Taking into account the different levels of development across the region while seeking to stimulate competition, these efforts will attract investors and encourage entrepreneurs to commercialise their ideas.