The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development will wait until governments in the Middle East and North Africa become democracies before it considers lending in the region, according to EBRD President Thomas Mirow.
“Shareholders that want to look at something look at North Africa and the Middle East as a potential region of engagement,” Mirow told Bloomberg on April 20. “I underline that it would be potential because it would depend on each and every country following the path of democracy, a multi-party system and market economy. Otherwise, there would be no grounds for EBRD to engage.”
Egypt is a founding shareholder but is not among the countries in which EBRD invests. In May 2010, months before the collapse of the three-decade rule of Hosni Mubarak, the government already filed a request to be included among EBRD’s target countries. It renewed this request last month.
Mirow has signaled that bank’s shareholders are likely to approve Egypt’s request. A decision on that is expected to be taken during EBRD’s annual meeting in May.
“We could be able to quickly develop a business model,” Mirow remarked, noting that based on some recent political meetings “we do think our shareholders want us to engage in Egypt.”
Morocco is another country that has expressed interest in joining the roster of financing-recipient countries of EBRD.
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