The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has embarked on a path to a sustainable, “majority green” future as it prepares to guide its regions to a robust recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
At its 2020 Annual Meeting, held in virtual session because of the virus and delayed from May, the EBRD’s Board of Governors approved a new Bank strategy for the next five years that will see over 50 per cent of its annual investments dedicated to green finance by 2025.
This year, the EBRD has swung all of its resources behind helping its 38 economies deal with the immediate impact of the pandemic, rolling out a €21 billion support package primarily aimed at helping firms to meet liquidity needs and at keeping vital services flowing.
The new five-year strategy looks beyond the pandemic.
“We need to preserve the progress made so far in our countries’ transitions. We also have to move even faster towards a more resilient and more sustainable future,” said Acting EBRD President Jürgen Rigterinkas the strategy was put forward to the Governors, who represent the EBRD’s 71 shareholders.
Under the new strategy, the EBRD also aims to promote equality of opportunity through access to skills and employment, finance and entrepreneurship and support for women, young people and under-served communities.
It will also accelerate digital transition, unleashing the power of technology to bring about change for the better.
The new strategy confirms the EBRD’s interest in a limited and incremental expansion of its activities to sub-Saharan Africa and Iraq during the next five-year period.
Governors will consider an update on this issue in 2022, reflecting guidance from the 2021 Annual Meeting.
At their meeting on Wednesday, the Governors agreed to a request from Iraq to become a shareholder of the Bank.
On Thursday, Governors will elect a new EBRD President to replace Sir Suma Chakrabarti.
The EBRD has been investing at unprecedented levels this year after already delivering record financing worth more than €10 billion in 2019.
Investments rose to just over €5 billion in the first six months of this year, compared with €3.7 billion a year earlier and a previous first-half record of €3.9 billion in 2016.
The Bank has complemented its increased financing with scaled-up policy support.
The pipeline of future projects is also at a record high and the EBRD has the potential to increase annual financing to well above €10 billion in the five-year period to 2025.