EBRD Annual Meeting 2011 launched in Astana

Oct 19. EBRD

By Sergiy Grytsenko

EBRD Annual Meeting 2011 launched in AstanaThe EBRD and the Government of Kazakhstan today signed a Memorandum of Understanding, officially launching the EBRD’s 2011 Annual Meeting which will be held on 20-21 May and for the first time in the Kazakh capital of Astana.

The Annual Meeting brings together the EBRD’s Board of Governors who will review the EBRD’s activities to support recovery in the region as the global economy emerges from recession.

The EBRD has responded vigorously to the impact of the crisis in the countries of its operations, sharply increasing its investments last year by over 50 percent to €8 billion and sustaining a high pace of financing again in 2010.

Today’s Memorandum was signed by Bolat Zhamishev, Kazakhstan’s Finance Minister and Governor for Kazakhstan of the EBRD, and Enzo Quattrociocche, the Secretary General of the EBRD.

The EBRD will also stage its traditional Business Forum alongside the Annual Meeting. Next year’s Forum, – under the banner Supporting Markets – Asia Meets Europe – will be focused on looking at the lessons that have been learnt from the crisis within the economies where the EBRD invests.

Panellists will include leading economists and senior business executives as well as policy makers from the Bank’s member countries with additional key input from Asia. Next year’s Board of Governors Meeting will be chaired by the EBRD’s Korean Governor Jeung-Hyun Yoon.

The Business Forum panels will revolve around key themes, including the development of local currency and capital markets, seen as a key factor in helping to reduce the dependence on foreign currency borrowing which proved so costly during the crisis for many of the EBRD’s countries of operations.

Another key topic, again emerging out of the crisis, is assessing the appropriate role of the state in providing a foundation for the development of a functioning market economy.

With food security back on the international agenda, one of the Forum panels will discuss how to improve food supply chains, and develop supportive financial instruments to meet the food security challenge.

The Forum will also focus on the key issue in the EBRD region of continued energy intensity and the role of the Bank in supporting energy efficient and climate change mitigation projects.

The Bank will also hold a number of associated events and meetings with representatives from the media and civil society to discuss the impact of EBRD’s operations.

The EBRD’s current investment strategy for Kazakhstan has an immediate focus on supporting the corporate sector, addressing financing requirements arising from the economic crisis while also promoting economic diversification and innovation.

The Bank is also working with authorities and other international financial institutions to strengthen the country’s financial sector. The banking sector remains the key conduit for EBRD financing for small enterprises.

The EBRD is also actively supporting the development of the infrastructure sector in Kazakhstan, as shown by its involvement in an important restructuring of the railway sector, crucial to the transportation of  key products, and is also working to improve the infrastructure in Kazakh municipalities. Another priority is addressing energy imbalances and the issue of improving energy efficiency.

To date, the EBRD has committed over €2.8 billion in various sectors of the Kazakh economy, mobilising additional investments in excess of about €7 billion.