The FINANCIAL -- The EBRD President, Sir Suma Chakrabarti, has praised the Ukrainian government’s commitment to reform and urged further steps, in particular in the banking and energy sectors, in order to attract investment in these areas.
At a press conference ahead of the EBRD’s Annual Meeting, which this year will take place in Tbilisi on 14-15 May, Sir Suma reflected on the challenging economic situation in Ukraine and how the EBRD can further support the Ukrainian economy.
He noted the record levels of the Bank’s commitments in Ukraine in 2014, when the EBRD invested €1.2 billion, during a period of conflict and economic need when funding from other sources nearly dried up, according to EBRD.
“We made a major effort because the new government was seen by us as much more reformist and trying to do the right thing”, he said.
The EBRD investments in Ukraine are continuing, he said, but any possible further increase in EBRD financing in Ukraine would have to come together with an intensification of the reform process. In 2015 the majority of the EBRD funding may be approved in the second half of the year (or “backloaded” to the second half).
In the current “tough situation”, the EBRD is helping clients, especially SMEs, by providing working capital, he added. “It was a big part of what we did last year, and I think we will do quite a lot of that this year too, to help them survive the crisis”.
In order to further increase investment in the Ukrainian economy, he said, the country needs to create the right conditions. “It depends on reforms in two sectors in particular, energy and banking," he stressed.
During the Annual Meeting in Tbilisi, the EBRD will hold an investment outlook session for Ukraine, highlighting the country’s potential for international investors. The EBRD’s new economic forecast will also be published during the Annual Meeting.
Meanwhile on the same day as the President made these remarks, on Wednesday 29 April, an international donor conference organised by the G7 at the EBRD headquarters in London pledged an additional €180 million for the completion of Chernobyl’s New Safe Confinement. The EBRD, in addition to its role as the Chernobyl Shelter Fund manager, has provided €675 million of its own resources to support Chernobyl projects including the NSC.
To date, the EBRD has invested over €11.2 billion in various sectors of the Ukrainian economy.