The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development’s (EBRD) annual meeting for 2020 will be entirely centred on discussing COVID-19’s impacts on the 38 emerging economies where it invests and how the bank will support them to recover.
The meeting is scheduled to kick off virtually from London on Wednesday and will be held over two days.
The meeting is also expected to witness the election of the EBRD’s new president, who will succeed Sir Suma Chakrabarti. In addition, the EBRD’s governors are expected to approve the bank’s strategy for the next five years (2021-2025).
In this regard, three candidates are standing for election: Polish Finance Minister Tadeusz Koscinski, former Italian Finance Minister Pier Carlo Padoan, and Director General of the French Treasury Odile Renaud Basso.
“As our regions start to recover, our goal will be to support an acceleration of transition, helping our countries build a more resilient, sustainable future,” acting EBRD President Jürgen Rigterink said.
The bank’s 2021-2025 strategy will be on delivering green, low-carbon economic growth, promoting equality of opportunity and accelerating digital transition.
It also confirms the EBRD’s interest in a limited and incremental expansion of its activities to sub-Saharan Africa and Iraq during the next five years, as the bank’s governors are expected to consider an update on this issue in 2022, reflecting guidance from the 2021 Annual Meeting.
Moreover, the EBRD governors are expected to decide on whether Iraq should become a shareholder in the bank.
Given that COVID-19 has been hitting the emerging markets severely, the EBRD’s investments rose to just over €5 billion in the first six months of 2020, up from €3.7 billion in 2019 and from a previous first-half record of €3.9 billion in 2016.
Representing Egypt, Minister of International Cooperation Rania Al-Mashat is going to participate in the EBRD’s annual meeting.
On Thursday, the EBRD announced that Egypt is the only economy across the 38 countries in which the bank invests that is expected to escape recession in 2020, with projected growth of 2 percent.
Associate director and deputy head for Egypt at the EBRD Khalid Hamza told Ahram Online that Egypt is the biggest market in which the bank invests in the region.
Hamza said that the EBRD governors are expected to raise investments in green projects to reach 50 percent of total EBRD investments in the region, up from 40 percent, to meet the challenges the COVID-19 pandemic.
He add that the bank will be in intensive talks with the Egyptian government to expand green investments and low carbon projects in the country.
Hamza also said that the EBRD’s outlook for the region’s economy is expected to be reviewed by 2021.