EBRD events start in Astana this week


EBRD events start in Astana this weekOn May 20-21, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will hold its 20th anniversary meeting in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan, also coinciding with the year of 20th anniversary of the country’s independence.

The EBRD Annual Meeting will analyze the most recent changes in political, economic, and financial spheres in the region of operations of the Bank, as well as business prospects there. In addition, the forum will encourage European investors to further cooperate with Central Asian states, the press service of the Kazakh MFA reports.

To date, the EBRD has committed itself to allocate EUR 2.8 billion to finance projects in various sectors of Kazakhstan’s economy, which mobilised additional investments worth over seven billion euros.

As a result of economic cooperation, the Bank has invested more than US $5 billion in Kazakhstan. Given the additional funds raised by EBRD partners, these investments have reached more than US$14 billion. Of these, around US $ 6.5 billion were aimed at infrastructure projects, while US$ 3 billion were directed to the banking sector, including US$ 400 million to the development of small and medium enterprises. About US$ 2 billion went to energy and natural resources projects; above US$ 2.5 billion covered industrial and agriculture projects.

The Annual Meeting in Astana will gather about 2,500 visitors and attendees, including 61 EBRD member states, the European Union, and the European Investment Bank, as well as representatives of international financial organisations such as the Asian Development Bank, the Islamic Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and others.

On the sidelines of the Annual Meeting, Kazakhstan and the Bank will organise a number of other events.

On May 18-19, the Bank, the French presidency of G20, and the Reinventing Bretton Woods Committee will hold a joint conference on “Development of funding in national currencies and of national capital markets.” The annual meeting of Donors will also take place during these days.

The day before the main events, the Government of Kazakhstan will organise the Host Country Investment Forum on May 19 entitled: “Kazakhstan, Investment, Industrialisation, Innovation. Taking this opportunity, Kazakhstan will demonstrate to potential European investors detailed information on the governmental measures to support foreign investment and attractive investment projects. The Kazakh side will also hold an exhibition of achievements in various areas of the economy.

One of the main events of the Annual Meeting, the Business Forum, will take place on May 20-21. The Forum, entitled “Supporting Markets – Asia Meets Europe,” will analyze lessons learned from the recent financial crisis.

Panel discussions of the Board of Governors sessions on May 20-21 will bring together leading economists, government officials, policy makers, business leaders from the EBRD member countries, as well as representatives of key countries in Asia. The high-level panel discussions will cover a number of key topics such as fostering entrepreneurship, role of women in business, food security. Country presentations and networking and social events will also be part of the Annual Meeting.

In addition, organisers will hold a series of events for non-governmental organisations and civil society such as the Civil Society Programme and other forums.

The EBRD is an international financial organization, owned by 61 countries, the European Union, and the European Investment Bank, that funds projects in 29 countries stretching from Central Europe and the Western Balkans to Central Asia. By investing in projects that could not otherwise attract financing on similar terms, the Bank promotes entrepreneurship and transition to open and democratic market economy.


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EBRD finances retail operators in Kazakhstan

May 19. EBRD

By Sergiy Grytsenko

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has provided Metro Group Kazakhstan with a loan to expand retail facilities and raise the quality of the country’s retail sector, which will result in better shopping experience for the people of Kazakhstan, especially, in the country’s more remote areas.

The EBRD is extending a €80 million (US$ 105 million) loan to WRE LLP and Metro Cash & Carry LLP, the Kazakh subsidiaries of Metro Group – the major German retailer.

Parts of this 7-year loan will also be available in local currency, in line with the EBRD’s focus on increasing local currency lending in its countries of operations.

The EBRD’s financing will be used to build up cash and carry stores across the country. Importantly, locally-produced products will comprise nearly a half of the whole product range on sale in the new Metro stores, which will promote further development of local producers.

Today’s loan announcement was made on the eve of the EBRD’s 20th Annual Meeting in Astana where its participants will discuss the lessons that have been learnt from the crisis within the economies where the EBRD invests.

Among other key topics on the current agenda they will also focus on the ways to improve food supply chains, and develop supportive financial instruments to meet the food security challenge.

“With this key investment, the Bank’s support is aimed at continuing to provide assistance to the country’s small businesses and helping local customers to have a reliable access to quality products. Our project will improve the retail sector and will play an active role in strengthening further development of food supply chains in Kazakhstan,” said Varel Freeman, EBRD Vice President.

In about four decades, Metro Cash & Carry has grown from a Western Europe-centred wholesale concept to a leading international player in self-service wholesale, operating about 700 outlets in 30 countries.

“Metro is delighted to conclude its first project with the EBRD in an important country like Kazakhstan and we hope that the cooperation between our institutions will be expanded to the regions where we both operate,” said Frans Muller, CEO of Metro Cash & Carry.

Since the beginning of its operations in Kazakhstan, the EBRD has invested over €2.8 billion in over 130 projects in various sectors of the Kazakh economy, mobilising additional investments in excess of about €6 billion, with about 70 per cent of the projects’ being investments into the development of the country’s private sector.