File Photo: European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) .REUTERS
The 30th annual meeting and business forum of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) kicked off on Monday.
The event this year is anticipated to discuss and take critical decisions on avenues of improving the environment and economies the EBRD operates in amid the serious challenges imposed by the COVID-19 crisis, including Egypt.
The EBRD said that it is moving in the current phase from its emergency response to the pandemic to providing longer-term help for countries, as many of the 38 economies in which the bank operates in have been severely hit by the virus.
On Tuesday, the EBRD is expected to release its updated report on the regional economic prospects, which will include its forecasts for Egypt’s real GDP growth and output in 2021 and its vision on Egypt’s efforts to deal with the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The EBRD published its latest report in October, which projected Egypt’s growth to fall to 2 percent in 2020, before rebounding to 5 percent in 2021.
In an exclusive interview, EBRD Managing Director for the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean Heike Harmgart told Ahram Online that Egypt maintains its position among the bank’s top investment destinations in 2021.
She added that Egypt has managed to significantly contain the economic impacts of the pandemic while saving its people’s lives as well.
Harmgart also noted that there are new deals that the EBRD is anticipated to announce in the Egyptian market next July.
In April, EBRD President Odile Renaud-Basso paid her first official visit to Egypt since she assumed the office in November.
In an exclusive interview with Ahram Weekly and Ahram Online, published on 21 April, Basso said the EBRD has a positive outlook on Egypt’s economy in 2021 and beyond, asserting that the bank will keep supporting the private sector and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
During the event, the EBRD’s governors — representatives from each of the 71 shareholding countries (along with the European Union (EU) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) — are anticipated to hold talks on what next steps should be taken, and the bank will produce more detailed proposals during the remainder of 2021.
In 2020, the EBRD committed €11 billion to COVID-19 recovery efforts.
The 30th EBRD meeting is expected to focus on a green transition in its operation countries. In 2020, the bank committed to becoming a majority green business during its current 5-year strategy period (2021-2025) — through dedicating more than 50 percent of its investments for the transition to sustainable and climate-resilient economies.
Moreover, shareholders will be asked to approve a commitment to full alignment with the Paris Agreement during the annual meeting’s main plenary session.
Speakers, including John Kerry, Mark Carney, Frans Timmermans, and Jane Goodall, will debate and discuss the best ways to bring about changes which improve the lives among the 677 million people in EBRD regions, and business and civic leaders will be able to participate in virtual networking sessions.
On the final day, Friday 2 July, EBRD’s President Renaud-Basso will take part in a discussion with the Managing Director of the IMF, Kristalina Georgieva, where they will talk about the challenges ahead.
Egypt is a founding member of the EBRD. Since the start of its operations there in 2012, the bank has invested approximately €7.2 billion covering 127 projects across country.