Laure Blanchard-Brunac: Smart investment in IT for change

By Eliza Villarino 12 October 2011

Laure Blanchard-Brunac, principal banker at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Photo by: personal collection

Laure Blanchard-Brunac holds a delicate – and rewarding – job at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

As principal banker, she manages investments in telecom, information technology and media companies based in Eastern Europe, Russia and Central Asia.

Blanchard-Brunac is one of today’s most influential development leaders under 40 in London. She and her peers have inspired change that transcends borders.

Devex is recognizing 40 of these young London-based trailblazers in international development. They are social entrepreneurs, government leaders, development consultants, business innovators, advocates, development researchers, nonprofit executives, philanthropists and investors.

We asked Blanchard-Brunac about her EBRD work and what role international financial institutions should play in promoting democracy movements around the globe.

What accomplishment are you most proud of when it comes to boosting investment in emerging markets at EBRD?

The most rewarding experience of all at EBRD is to work with local management on putting together innovative financing to support and promote their business. I really admire local entrepreneurs in emerging markets, who operate in a very unstable environment, such as in Georgia, Bosnia Herzegovina, Belarus, and strive to develop their companies and be competitive and innovative in a global market.

What innovative financing mechanisms do you find the most promising in boosting global development?

In my experience, an IFI providing equity or quasi-equity financing to local private companies can create tremendous value and results, as the IFI can bring industry expertise, a global dimension and best corporate governance standards. As an investor, an IFI will not only be focused on maximizing the added value of the company, thus supporting wealth creation locally, but also on building capacity of the management to expand the business. Wealth creation and capacity building are, to me, to two key triggers to boost development in emerging markets.

Should international financing institutions such as the EBRD focus more on IT and other projects that promise to foster democratic change?

In my view, support of IFIs and donors to the deployment of ICT infrastructure is key to sustainable development and democratic evolution in emerging markets. ICT infrastructure provides people with information, education and communication, which are all essential components of a democratic and modern society.

Beyond fostering democracy, which is in itself the result of a long-term process, the ICT sector is today experiencing a real revolution and is rapidly transforming our societies: IFIs and donors should make a priority of supporting the emerging markets in taking part in this ICT revolution, both contributing in and benefiting from this new potential of creativity, innovation and possibilities that technologies are offering today.

Read more about the Devex 40 Under 40 International Development Leaders in London.

About the author

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Eliza Villarino

Eliza Villarino currently manages one of today’s leading publications on humanitarian aid, global health and international development, the weekly GDB. At Devex, she has helped grow a global newsroom, with talented journalists from major development hubs such as Washington, D.C, London and Brussels. She regularly writes about innovations in global development.


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