Over the last decade, the EBRD has prioritised establishing and strengthening platforms for public-private dialogue where businesses and policymakers can come together to tackle investment climate-related challenges in a systematic and results-oriented fashion.
In several countries, the EBRD has supported the establishment of Investment Councils (ICs) with participation of high level government officials, business associations and multilateral agencies. We work with donors to put in place Secretariats for the Investment Councils that provide organisational, analytical and professional support to the IC members.
Investment Councils are not meant to replace the activity of any government ministry, agency or institution. Instead, they are designed to provide a platform for dialogue between the private sector and the authorities, with the ultimate aim of leveraging the private sector’s experience to enhance the content and prioritisation of policy reforms.
The Investment Councils also strengthen the private sector’s and civil society’s role in monitoring the effectiveness of the Government’s activity in the area of governance reform.
EBRD established the first Investment Councils in 2007 as part of its Early Transition Country Initiative. For almost a decade the Bank has mobilised donor funds to support Secretariats of Investment Councils, independent professional secretariats that identify constraints and help to broker solutions, in Armenia, Kyrgyz Republic and Tajikistan. More recently, the Bank has helped to establish new Investment Councils in Moldova, Albania and Georgia. In all but one of these countries it is the President or Prime Minister who chairs the Investment Council.
The Investment Councils are not a “silver bullet” to strengthen private sector development: they are just one piece of a complex jigsaw of institutions, policies and reforms. But such platforms for public-private dialogue can play a vital role in contributing to sustainable economic growth.
The first step to identifying concrete potential for collaboration is, of course, entering into dialogue. For real partnership to develop, governments have to be ready to listen, to make good policy choices and to think long term.
In the Kyrgyz Republic, the Council contributed to the adoption and amendment of more than 100 critical laws and regulations since its inception in 2007. In Armenia, the country’s platform for public-private dialogue supported the authorities in the reform process of the inspection system, which led to the improvement of the country’s performance in the World Bank’s Doing Business ranking.
In Tajikistan, the Council provided a forum at which the authorities and private businesses agreed on the reforms to simplify the procedures for registering business and for obtaining permits and licenses. In Moldova, the Economic Council has been successful in securing the adoption by the Government of a number of regulatory reforms, including the simplification of import/export licensing requirements.
Investment Councils promote good public and corporate governance, they improve the quality of the advice the government receives from the private sector, and they promote more evidence-based advocacy. However, this remains true only as long as these platforms remain transparent, independent, and inclusive.
The ICGI team coordinates the activities of the public-private dialogue platforms in the EBRD’s countries of operations, secures the necessary donor funding, ensures related policy dialogue activities are undertaken effectively, and provides HQ administrative support to the Resident Offices.
Albania Investment Council | Armenia Business Support Office | Moldova Economic Council | Kyrgyz Republic Investment Council | Tajikistan Investment Council