EBRD Annual Meeting 2015 – Infrastructure Development

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The FINANCIAL — The private sector will have to play a significant role in financing the infrastructure that is needed to lead the global economy back to a path of sustained growth, a conference ahead of the Annual Meeting of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in Tbilisi heard on May 13.

EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti told the conference that infrastructure requirements were huge and likely to rise to around US$ 500 billion a year just in the 36 countries where the EBRD works.
 
Cavit Dağdaş Undersecretary of the Turkish Treasury, who co-hosted the conference with the EBRD and the Reinventing Bretton Woods Committee, said: “Lifting infrastructure  investments is a multipart task which involves collective and coherent action by all stakeholders.”.
 
Turkey currently holds the presidency of the G20 countries and has placed a very high priority during its  term in helping to close the global infrastructure gap, according to EBRD.

Undersecretary Dagdas, who is also the Governor of the EBRD for Turkey, said the infrastructure gap had widened as investment levels dropped in reaction to the global crisis.
 
In response, the Turkish G20 Presidency was focussing on mobilising long-term private finance sources and also emphasising the importance of diversifying the sources of finance to fund infrastructure development.

This involved deepening capital markets and developing equity markets and local currency bond sectors.
 
The one-day conference discussed the policies that had to be put in place by public authorities to attract greater amounts of private sector finance,  the obstacles that deter  successful Public-Private Partnerships and what role Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs)  can play in also helping to boost the role of the private sector.
 
The conference also focussed on the importance of infrastructure investments in helping to promote ”green” growth, including driving forward technological developments in energy efficiency and energy security.
 
In his opening remarks to the discussion, Sir Suma said there could be no successful transition to market economies and to sustained economic growth without effective infrastructure.
 
“But, this huge agenda simply cannot be achieved without the strong participation of the private sector,” he said, noting that the MDBs had pledged to scale up substantially their role in financing for development.
 
“The EBRD in particular will use its experience in our countries of operation on leveraging private finance for infrastructure,” he said, referring specifically to the Bank’s new project preparation facility which would strengthen its role in the infrastructure sector.

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