‘Arab spring’ nations EBRD’s new territory

‘Arab spring’ nations EBRD’s new territory

LONDON - Agence France-Presse
‘Arab spring’ nations EBRD’s new territory

A man shouts slogans at a demonstration in Tunis. EBRD is entering North Africa. AFP photo

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development yesterday said it had launched its first
investments in “emerging Arab democracies.”

The announcement comes four months after the EBRD agreed to invest a total of 1.0 billion euros ($1.3 billion) across north Africa and the Middle East in the wake of the Arab Spring uprisings.

“The EBRD has launched its first investments in emerging Arab democracies, in a major step in its response to the wave of political and economic change in countries in North Africa and the Middle East,” the bank said in a statement on Tuesday.

It added that the EBRD’s board of directors, representing the bank’s shareholders, approved three projects in Jordan, Tunisia and Morocco.

“Investments in Egypt are expected to be submitted shortly,” the statement added.

The investments included a $30 million (23 million euros) trade finance line for InvestBank in Jordan. There is also a 20 million-euro commitment to the Maghreb Private Equity Fund III for investments in Tunisia and Morocco. After years concentrating mainly on investment partnerships with private-sector firms across the former Soviet bloc, the EBRD expects to be able to eventually invest up to 2.5 billion euros a year in the new region by 2015. Founded in 1991 to help former Soviet bloc countries such as Hungary, Kazakhstan and Russia to switch and adapt to a market economy, the EBRD recently elected it first president who is neither German or French, Suma Chakrabarti from the U.K.