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EBRD to boost investments to combat financial crisis

The EBRD plans a substantial increase in investments in 2009 in response to the severe impact of the global economic crisis on central and eastern Europe.

EBRD President Thomas Mirow sent a letter to shareholders yesterday outlining a proposal to invest up to €7 billion in 2009, a record amount for any single year since the Bank was founded.

As EBRD investments have typically attracted additional funding from commercial partners at a ratio of at least 2:1, that means EBRD-led financing could top €20 billion in 2009. The plan represents an increase of over €1 billion in investments in 2009, or nearly 20 per cent above existing plans.

The extra investments in 2009 will be targeted across the EBRD’s countries of operations, with a specific focus on the Western Balkans and less advanced countries in the Caucasus and in Central Asia. But the EBRD also plans to reverse a recent decline in investments to central Europe, responding positively to a specific appeal for support from that region. Up to half of the additional planned investments will be dedicated to central Europe.

The EBRD has already pledged to stand by its partner banks in the region, offering financial support in either equity or new loans to viable institutions. The EBRD is a shareholder in some 100 financial institutions in the region and a creditor to a further 200.

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