EBRD to invest in Jordan and Tunisia

EBRD to invest in Jordan and Tunisia

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
EBRD to invest in Jordan and Tunisia

Jordan and Tunisia have become EBRD’s latest members from the southern and eastern Mediterranean region. This will make them eligible for EBRD investments. Photo by Andy Lane

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has taken a new step in expanding activities in the southern and eastern Mediterranean by granting Jordan and Tunisia bank membership so they may become recipients of EBRD investments.

In the medium term, EBRD may invest up to 2.5 billion euros per year in the region. Jordan and Tunisia have joined Egypt and Morocco as the bank’s shareholders in the region, with Egypt and Morocco being founding members when the bank was established in 1991, EBRD said in a statement yesterday.

A huge commitment

“All four countries are the target of support under the Deauville Partnership that was launched under the French presidency of the G-8 in May 2011 in response to the historic changes under way in parts of the Middle East and North Africa,” the EBRD said about the Arab Spring, which resulted in the toppling of dictators and regime change in a number of countries.

Anthony Williams, head of media relations at EBRD, said the bank was “specifically asked to bring its experience in the former communist Eastern Europe/Soviet Union” to the region.

“The Bank has already started to collate and distribute technical cooperation funds provided by donors that pave the way for future EBRD investments,” Williams said in response to Hürriyet Daily News questions. “EBRD expects to have the capacity to invest, in the medium term, up to 2.5 billion euros each year across the southern and eastern Mediterranean.”

This commitment to the region will not come at the expense of current members such as Turkey, according to Williams. Last year, Turkey received around 900 million euros in EBRD funding, he said.
“Turkey has very quickly become an extremely important country of operations for the EBRD, with investments rising from 150 million euros in the first year of activities in 2009 to something close to 1 billion euros in 2011,” Williams said. “The same level of investment is expected in 2012. Such a high level of engagement puts Turkey alongside Ukraine as the most important country where it invests, behind Russia.”

In Turkey, the lender focuses primarily on market liberalization, privatization, energy, infrastructure, telecommunications and the financial sector. EBRD describes itself as “the world’s only transition bank.” k HDN