The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is set to amend its bylaws to allow it to expand its lending operations to North Africa, starting with Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco.
The amendments will be discussed on Saturday (May 21) in a meeting of EBRD governors in Kazakhstan, according to the New York Times.
The expansion of the bank’s mandate is part of efforts by the United States, which is EBRD’s largest stakeholder, and various European governments to support North African countries undergoing democratic transitions.
Germany made the official proposal to expand the bank’s lending operation on the condition that aid-recipient countries make “a firm commitment to the core principles of democracy, political pluralism and the market economy.”
A coalition of the Central and Eastern Europe Bankwatch Network and 28 non-governmental organizations, however, are objecting to the expansion. The group argued that it is premature for the EBRD to start financing the Mediterranean region “when it is by no means clear what kind of governments will follow the recently overthrown regimes,” the New York Times says.
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