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EBRD to support recovery from floods in Balkans

OTHER NEWS AFFECTING PROJECTS & PM

29 May 2014 – London, UK – The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is stepping up its engagement in the Balkans to help boost economies affected by recent flooding. The EBRD Vice President for Policy, András Simor, is visiting flood-affected parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina on 29 and 30 May 2014 to meet senior officials and international counterparts. Simor will discuss in more detail the priorities of the governments of Bosnia and Herzegovina and its Entities as they respond to the impact of the flooding.

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As part of the regional flood response, the EBRD will place a priority on the rehabilitation of damaged roads, railways and water supply systems as well as damaged power stations and transmission and distribution networks. In the private sector, the Bank is looking to provide extra capital to SMEs, especially in the agribusiness and farming sectors. Longer term, the Bank will also place an emphasis on working with authorities to develop improved flood protection systems and help reduce the risk of such widespread damage in the future. Support from the EBRD will be provided in coordination with other international financial institutions.

The visit of Vice President Simor comes after the floods inflicted severe damage across the Balkans, including loss of life, and had a major impact on businesses, infrastructure and livelihoods. An estimated 40,000 people have been displaced in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and thousands of people across the region have been left without drinking water.

No official estimates of the damage are available yet; however, agriculture, infrastructure, transport and local businesses are expected to have been hit the worst.

“The EBRD is committed to helping Bosnia and Herzegovina overcome this devastating tragedy. This is a regional disaster and we stand ready to help countries affected by the floods,” said Simor prior to the trip.

Simor will meet in Sarajevo with Minister of Finance Spiric, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Lagumdzija, and Governor of the Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina Kozaric to learn about the extent of damage caused by the floods and possible long-term consequences for the economy. He will also meet Prime Minister of the Federation Bosnia and Herzegovina (FBiH) Niksic. In Banja Luka, Simor had a meeting with Republika Srpska (RS) Prime Minister Cvijanovic and Minister of Finance Tegeltija.

The EBRD invested over €1.2 billion in over 80 projects in the Western Balkans and Croatia in 2013 and had been expecting the same level of engagement this year.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), established in 1991 to nurture the private sector in central and Eastern Europe and ex-soviet countries, uses investment to help build market economies and democracies. The EBRD, owned by 61 countries and two intergovernmental institutions, is the largest single investor in the region and provides programme and project financing for banks, industries and businesses.  The EBRD has supported more than 3,500 projects in more than 30 countries to date.  For more information about the bank, visit http://www.ebrd.com/index.htm.  More about EBRD projects at http://www.ebrd.com/pages/project.shtml.

Based on story by Viktorija Melohina 

Source: EBRD