The FINANCIAL — The President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Sir Suma Chakrabarti, took part in the World Government Summit (WGS), a platform that brings together leaders and policy-makers to showcase future trends in government services, leadership, innovation and economic policy.
He addressed the summit with a keynote speech on the importance of the private sector in the development of successful economies in the southern and eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) region and on overcoming challenges holding back growth.
President Chakrabarti said: “I strongly believe it is the private sector which is best placed to deliver the sustainable, inclusive growth that the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region needs.”
“The potential for growth from the private sector in MENA is certainly there. But it faces many barriers to further expansion. However, together, we can dismantle these obstacles to progress. In fact we are already doing just that in the countries where we invest,” he added.
President Chakrabarti also spoke during the summit in ministerial sessions on economic diversification and innovation, according to EBRD.
During his three-day visit President Chakrabarti held discussions with authorities from the United Arab Emirates; representatives from international organisations, including the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde; and the Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), Graziano Da Silva; and business executives.
The EBRD started investing in the SEMED region in 2012 and has invested around €5 billion in about 120 projects in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Tunisia to date. The activities cover key sectors of the economy such as support for small businesses, agribusiness, infrastructure and energy, with a special focus on renewables. Three-quarters of these investments have been dedicated to the private sector.
Twinned with policy dialogue to improve the business climate, as well as boosting access to finance for small and medium-sized enterprises and putting greater emphasis on inclusion by creating job opportunities for women and young people, the Bank’s investments are helping to promote inclusive growth and enhanced productivity in the region.
The EBRD is also promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency, contributing to the energy security of the SEMED region, which is key for the growth of the private sector.