The EBRD has appointed Agris Preimanis new Director for Kazakhstan, one of the Bank’s largest countries of operations where it has invested more than US$ 8 billion to date.
The announcement was made today in Almaty, the country’s largest city, during a high-level visit led by EBRD First Vice President Phil Bennett.
Agris Preimanis, a Latvian citizen, studied at the University of Oxford and holds a DPhil in financial economics. He joined the EBRD in 2010 and served as Regional Lead Economist, Central Asia, since 2014. In this position Dr Preimanis moved to Almaty and developed close links with EBRD partners in Kazakhstan in government and business supporting policy engagements and investment in the country, and as a member of the Operating Committee and a co-chair of the Innovative-Technological and Economic Development Working Group of the Foreign Investors Council of Kazakhstan.
Dr. Preimanis has been working actively with the Government and private sector of Kazakhstan on strengthening the competitiveness of the economy, creating better connectivity and developing a more resilient banking sector, including facilitating the implementation of the national programme “100 reform steps”. He will continue this work in his new role as EBRD country director.
He said: “This is a critical period for Kazakhstan as the country aims to improve competitiveness and to modernise, adjusting to new global economic realities. I am excited to take up the role of Director for Kazakhstan at this time and will work to ensure that the EBRD remains one of the key investors in the country and a key partner for Kazakhstan in its reform efforts. The non-extractive sectors in the country will be key for the EBRD, as well as working towards improved connectedness and a greener, more sustainable energy sector.”
In Kazakhstan Dr. Preimanis replaces Janet Heckman, who was promoted EBRD Managing Director for Southern and Eastern Mediterranean in January. He will continue to be based in Almaty.
After entering into an innovative Enhanced Partnership Framework Arrangement with the Government in 2014, the EBRD has been investing at record levels in Kazakhstan. To date, the Bank has invested over US$ 8 billion with a focus on diversification of the country’s economy. The EBRD is the largest financier in the non-oil/gas sectors in Kazakhstan. The Bank is also an active supporter of the country’s strategy to reform and develop more competitive industries, including financing for renewable energy projects where it has recently agreed a US$ 200 million renewables framework.
The EBRD Advice for Small Business programme, supported by the Government, is working with thousands of small and medium-sized businesses across the regions of Kazakhstan. In addition to offices in Almaty and Astana, the EBRD also has 5 smaller offices focusing on small business in the regions.