Wednesday, August 30, 2006

EBRD investments in FYR Macedonia will increase over the next two years to help further promote the country’s transition process and reform agenda.

In its latest strategy for the country, issued 2006-08-30 on the Bank says investments will focus on supporting and attracting local and foreign businesses, working with the financial sector to develop a wider range of products and to increase financing for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The Bank will also promote infrastructure projects, including privatisations. There will be a particular focus on projects that benefit businesses and people, such as roads, airports, as well as on regional projects.

Through policy dialogue, the Bank will also help push forward the reform agenda, particularly in areas such as the judiciary system, the fight against corruption as well as improving the business climate for investors, particularly SMEs.

Kenji Nakazawa, Head of the EBRD’s office in FYR Macedonia, said the country has made much progress in recent years in meeting its transition challenges and must now build on this to promote an investor-friendly business climate that will attract much-needed investment. The EBRD’s two-year strategy emphasises the Bank’s commitment to being an important partner for local and foreign businesses and for FYR Macedonia as it advances in its transition process and builds on its reform agenda, he added.

Active in FYR Macedonia since 1993, EBRD investments to date amount to more than €403 million, with €86 million committed between in the last strategy period from 2004 to 2006, in areas such as power and energy, general industries and financial institutions. In that period investments rose 27 per cent from the previous two years.

An important element of the Bank’s work in FYR Macedonia will continue to rely on support from the donor community. Earlier this year, eleven countries committed to financing the Western Balkans Multi Donor Fund, set up to help boost private business investment and infrastructure development in this region.

In many respects, donor finance is the catalyst that helps drive EBRD projects, and this is important in helping countries like FYR Macedonia in their transition process, said Mr Nakazawa.

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