The new president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is faced with a great responsibility: The bank is set to expand its operations beyond its geographic coverage.
The bank’s shareholders, following the election of Suma Chakrabarti to the bank’s top post May 18, agreed to set up a €1 billion ($1.3 billion) special fund to start investments in four Arab states. The bank agreed last year to expand to the southern and eastern Mediterranean, or Semed, regions.
EBRD plans to invest initially in Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Jordan. It has already opened offices in the four countries, hired personnel and appointed a managing director for Semed.
The bank will help develop the private sector, including the growth of small and midsize enterprises. It plans to invest up to €2.5 billion a year in Semed.
The bank may also extend its Sustainable Energy Initiative in Semed, especially with a new investment for the initiative worth up to €25 billion. The project, now on its third phase, aims to reduce up to 32 million tons of carbon emissions from 2012 to 2014 in EBRD’s countries of operations. The bulk of financing has traditionally been allotted to the private sector.
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