Turkey to Arab Spring nations
EBRD Chairman Sir Suma Chakrabarti
EBRD Chairman Sir Suma ChakrabartiToday, heads of government, policymakers and entrepreneurs from dozens of countries are gathering
in Istanbul for the Annual Meeting of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to debate the big issues of tomorrow.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey; Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Qandil; Tunisian Prime Minister Ali Laarayedh; Jordanian Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour; and Moroccan Economy and Finance Minister Nizar Baraka will address the participants at the annual meeting about the ways to promote economic development and to attract investment in the region, which was transformed by the historic
events of the Arab Spring.
When the Turkish government invited the EBRD to start investing here, and our shareholder governments approved the move, we worked hard to transfer our knowledge, accumulated by many years of work in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, to Turkey, a country that has never known communism.
We have shown that our operational model can be applied to a new and very different environment.
Even when the challenges – such as privatization or energy efficiency – were similar, we found some new way, such as close partnerships with the very dynamic and innovative commercial banking
sector, to address them.
As the EBRD Annual Meeting opens in Istanbul, the most dynamic city of our fastest-growing market, we are proud to say that the EBRD is playing an increasingly important role in Turkey and that Turkey is at the same time providing valuable lessons for the bank. Since commencing operations in 2009, the EBRD has provided 2.6 billion euros in financing to Turkey, focusing on support for small businesses including agriculture, sustainable energy (including renewable energy and investment for energy efficiency), transport and environmental infrastructure and for agribusiness and manufacturing. We expect to provide around 1.2 billion euros in 2013. We are supporting the Turkish government’s commitment to expand business opportunities for women in Turkey and focusing many of our operations in eastern Anatolia. We are also looking forward to cooperating with Turkish investors in projects throughout the EBRD’s traditional countries of operations and in the southern and eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) region.
After the Arab Spring, the international community tasked the EBRD with moving into the four countries of the SEMED region: Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia. We have already started investing through a new EBRDSEMED fund, as well as offering technical assistance.
The experiences we have gathered in Turkey are already helping us to be at our most effective in this new, young and ambitious region of operations. And we are honored to be part of its future.