World Bulletin/News Desk
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), a multinational bank which has an active presence on three continents -- Europe, Asia and North Africa -- is for the first time holding its annual meeting in İstanbul starting on Friday.
The two-day annual meeting of the EBRD's Board of Governors will also be the first one held outside the traditional EBRD region of post-communist countries. The board represents the international shareholders of the bank.
The meeting will focus on the economic challenges in the region from Europe to North Africa where the EBRD recently became active in and on the ways to return to growth -- be it through technological or financial innovation, increasing competitiveness, supporting dynamic small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) or creating better opportunities for entrepreneurial talent, such as female business owners.
The EBRD, founded in 1991 to help post-communist countries on their path to democracy and a market economy, is now active in 34 countries after investments in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia started last year.
Turkey has been a member of the EBRD since 2008. Among the shareholders of the bank is also the EU.
İstanbul was declared the “most dynamic city of the EBRD's fastest growing market [Turkey]” in an EBRD press briefing announcing the meeting.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is expected to give the opening speech of the board meeting. In addition to EBRD governors and management, speakers during the event will include renowned experts from across the region of the bank's operations and shareholder countries.
Deputy Turkish Prime Minister Ali Babacan will also deliver a speech on the role of the EBRD in Turkey and the region. There will be separate events highlighting the investment outlook for Turkey.
EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti, Head of Central and Eastern Europe of UniCredit bank Gianni Franco Papa and Chief Economist and Special Adviser to the EBRD president Erik Berglöf will also deliver press briefings during the meeting, which will outline the current priorities of the bank in dealing with regional challenges and the current performance of the bank.
The EBRD's newest area of operations in the southern and eastern Mediterranean will be the key focus of attention at the meeting. The discussions on the region will provide a unique opportunity to review economic developments since the Arab Spring.
Political leaders from countries in the southern and eastern Mediterranean will also attend the meeting and highlight the opportunities and challenges facing their economies.
As this is the first time that the EBRD is holding an annual meeting outside its traditional area of investment -- Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union -- there will be a major spotlight on Turkey, which has quickly grown to become the EBRD's second-largest country of operations by annual investment volume.
During the investment outlook sessions for Turkey, İstanbul's ambition of becoming a financial hub and Turkey's overall economic success and direction will be explored.
There will also be a debate on capital markets, which would highlight the EBRD's drive to help the development of local currency lending and local capital markets.
The success story of Turkey's sustainable energy development will also be the focus of the presentation on the EBRD's sustainable resource initiative.
The EBRD will also publish its latest economic forecast for the region, including the southern and eastern Mediterranean, during the meeting.
Even as the eurozone crisis continues to have an impact on EBRD economies and access to finance remains limited, the bank invested at crisis levels in 2012, with 8.9 billion euros committed to a record 393 projects.
A business forum that is part of the meeting's program will focus on several themes, including innovation and growth, financial law reform in EBRD region countries and in the southern and eastern Mediterranean and local capital markets.Last Mod: 10 Mayıs 2013, 15:12