The FINANCIAL — A senior delegation from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), led by Francis Malige, Managing Director for Eastern Europe and the Caucasus, visited Moldova on 1-2 September for high-level talks.
EBRD officials met the new Moldovan Prime Minister Valeriu Streleț; Andrian Candu, speaker of the parliament; Stephane Bride, Minister of Economy; Anatol Arapu, Minister of Finance; and National Bank governor Dorin Drăguțanu, according to EBRD.
Discussions focused on the EBRD’s investment in Moldova, its strategic priorities and the urgent need to reform the business climate in the country.
In a meeting with Prime Minister Streleț, Francis Malige reinforced the EBRD’s strong commitment to supporting the Moldovan economy and economic reforms.
“Moldova is going through a particularly difficult time – a banking crisis, currency weakening and a sharp economic decline. To attract investment which will generate jobs and boost the economy, the country urgently needs to reform, clean up its banks and fight corruption; and I am pleased to see that the government seems to share a sense of these priorities,” said Mr Malige.
“The country also needs strong partners like the EU, IMF, World Bank and the EBRD. But further support will depend on the implementation of reforms.”
He added: “The success of the country rests with its political leadership which has all the keys to unlock the situation and build a prosperous economy. The EBRD is ready to help.”
Mr Malige said the government’s decision to liquidate Banca de Economii, Banca Socială and Unibank was an encouraging step in the right direction. He called on the authorities and regulators to step up efforts to tackle the banking crisis and ensure shareholder transparency in the sector.
“When shareholders of banks remain opaque, good supervision is not possible and we can see the consequences. Moldova cannot afford to lose another billion this way.”
Francis Malige reconfirmed the EBRD’s preparedness to increase its stake in Victoriabank, to protect Moldova’s third largest lender from non-transparent parties and to preserve its independent, professional and commercially successful operations.
Last month the EBRD, a shareholder in Victoriabank since 1995, called for an extraordinary general meeting of shareholders to elect a new supervisory board and restore corporate governance.
The EBRD is one of the largest institutional investors in Moldova, where it focuses on supporting private sector activity, promoting European standards and regional integration and developing efficient and sustainable public utilities. To date, the EBRD has invested close to €1 billion in more than 100 projects in the country. It also works with the authorities to promote reforms and support good governance.