The President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), Sir Suma Chakrabarti, heads for the World Economic Forum in Davos this week with a message of strong support for economies of the EBRD regions following a year of record investments.
EBRD financing rose to a new high of €9.7 billion in 2017, from €9.4 billion the previous year, and the Bank is well-positioned to continue delivering positive impact and active support for reforms in the coming years.
The EBRD President will also be able to underscore the Bank’s increased commitment to the green economyafter it met its Paris Climate Agreement pledges three years ahead of schedule.
As part of the Paris accord the Bank had said it aimed to dedicate 40 per cent of total funding to climate action by 2020. But the share had already risen to 43 per cent last year.
During the 23 to 26 January Davos conference, the EBRD President is expected to encourage authorities in EBRD countries to take advantage of the current economic recovery to put in place outstanding structural reforms that are needed to improve the business climate and attract more investments into EBRD economies.
In November, the EBRD revised up its forecasts for economic expansion across its regions as a whole in 2018, against the backdrop of a stronger upturn in the world’s major economic zones which has sent markets to new record highs since the start of this year.
However, despite the new-found optimism, EBRD economists are still pointing to a number of risks to their forecasts, including geopolitical tensions, persistent security threats, the growing appeal of populist anti-globalisation policies in advanced economies and a high degree of concentration in the sources of global growth.
Economists are also highlighting economic risks from a build-up of corporate debt during the period of accommodative monetary policies which they say may present problems when interest rates start moving steadily higher.
The EBRD President will hold bilateral discussions with a number of leaders and senior politicians from EBRD member countries during his stay in Davos.
The theme of the 2018 Davos forum is “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World”, which will ensure a heightened focus on inequality of opportunity and the importance of reaching out to those members of society who remain on the margins of economic progress.
The EBRD’s Economic Inclusion Strategy was launched in May 2017, precisely with the aim of stepping up the Bank’s response to this challenge.