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EBRD adopts new five-year strategy for Croatia

By Svitlana  Pyrkalo

  • EBRD Board of Directors approves a new five-year strategy for Croatia
  • Strategy to focus on private-sector competitiveness, green and inclusive economy
  • Policy cooperation to complement investment of more than €4.4 billion to date

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s Board of Directors has approved a strategy to guide investment in Croatia over the next five years (2023-28).

The Bank’s new strategic priorities, to be achieved in coordination with other international financial institutions and donors, include:

-          supporting competitiveness through innovation, digitalisation and good governance;

-          accelerating Croatia’s green economy transition and its Paris alignment;

-          increasing resilience through inclusion and stronger stakeholder engagement.

The EBRD launched its operations in Croatia in 1993. Over the last 30 years, it has invested €4.4 billion in the Croatian economy and supported more than 850 companies with financing and advisory services. In recent years, it has stepped up its much-needed engagement in and support for policy reforms.

Victoria Zinchuk, EBRD Director for Central Europe, said: “Since becoming the latest member of the EU, Croatia has made remarkable progress on its path to deeper integration and a more sustainable private-sector economy. However, the country still faces structural challenges compared with its regional peers, amid low economic diversification and modest productivity growth. The triple shock of the 2020 earthquakes, the pandemic and, more recently, the war on Ukraine has shown the need to improve the country’s overall resilience and capability to withstand external and internal vulnerabilities. Our new country strategy will support Croatia in achieving this goal through strengthened resilience and a more competitive, diversified and sustainable private sector.”

Marko Primorac, Croatia’s Minister of Finance and the country’s representative on the EBRD Board of Governors, said before the strategy’s approval: “I see the EBRD as a key institution that will continue to support the strengthening of the competitiveness of the private sector and the economy as a whole.”

The first priority, private sector competitiveness, builds on the Bank’s efforts started in the previous strategy period. The EBRD will also continue to support the improvement of corporate governance and efficiency of state-owned enterprises as opportunities arise. It will assist small and medium-sized enterprises in adopting new practices and innovative products, and will build on its partnership with incubators and accelerators to step up support for start-ups.

As its second priority, the EBRD will intensify its work to accelerate Croatia’s green economy transition and its Paris alignment by further diversifying the energy mix and increasing renewable energy capacity, improving energy efficiency and building climate resilience. This will include further support for renewable energy projects and putting in place the preconditions for developing the country’s offshore wind and agri-solar potential.

As part of the third priority, the EBRD will provide support for green post-earthquake reconstruction and assist with urban regeneration programmes, while engaging with local municipalities and communities. The Bank will continue to promote access to skills, employment and finance, with a renewed focus on the integration of refugees and vulnerable segments of the population. 

Of the EBRD’s total investment over the last 30 years, more than 70 per cent has been in the private sector and more than €1 billion euro has been in sustainable infrastructure. The Bank invested €300 million in Croatia in 2022 alone.

The EBRD’s technical assistance and advisory services in Croatia are supported by international donors, mainly the European Union, Taipei China and Japan, as well as multi-donor funds and the Bank’s own resources. 

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