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LONDON, May 19 (Itar-Tass) —— The EBRD’s shareholders agreed on Saturday, May 19, to create a 1 billion euro special fund for investing in emerging Arab democracies following the latest political change in the Middle East and North Africa.
The fund will be financed out of the Bank’s reserves and will allow the Bank to start operations as a prelude to full-scale investment in the new region after an extension of the EBRD’s geographic remit has been ratified, the bank said in a statement.
The expansion into the southern and eastern Mediterranean (SEMED) region follows calls for EBRD support from the international community and from countries in the region itself.
The EBRD was asked to apply its 20 years of experience in supporting economic development in Central and Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union to another region where people are again demanding a more stable economic future.
The EBRD is planning to invest specifically in Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Jordan. It has opened preliminary offices in all four of these countries, appointed a managing director for the region and hired additional staff with regional experience.
The Bank will focus on the development of the private sector in the new region, fostering growth of small and medium-sized enterprises, helping to improve municipal services, developing stable financial sectors and improving energy supplies via SEI activities.
EBRD staff are already preparing for investments in SEMED and the first projects are likely to be concluded around September of this year.
The Bank expects to be able to eventually invest up to 2.5 billion euros a year in the new region, while not detracting from investments in its existing countries of operations, where funding totalled 9.1 billion euros in 2011, the statement said.