EBRD president: Time ripe for more investment in Eastern Partnership countries

The countries of the Eastern Partnership, a joint policy initiative of the European Union and six former USSR countries – Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine – is a region rich in promise for investors, Sir Suma Chakrabarti, the president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development has said at the first ever Eastern Partnership Investment Summit in London.

Speaking at the EBRD’s headquarters in London on November 22, Mr Chakrabarti highlighted the progress made by the six EaP countries over the past years, pointing to Ukraine’s “wide-ranging reform agenda, how Moldova opened up for global investment, Georgia’s tracked reforms in the last 15 years.”

“[These countries] are now closer to the rest of Europe than ever before,” he said.

He also praised Armenia’s anti-corruption efforts, Azerbaijan’s attempts to diversify away from its energy sector and the Belarusian government’s actions in the privatisation of state companies.

Discussing the bank’s advice on how to create more business opportunities in the region, the EBRD president said that the main policy areas of focus for the EaP countries should be investing in good governance and the rule of law, economic and human capital, and the environment.

“Progress across these three fronts will not just boost economic growth. It will also encourage the region’s highly educated, hard-working young people to stay at home and invest in their own economies, rather than relocating elsewhere,” he stressed.

“We are a democracy and we are proud of it. We are committed to the EU. We are fighting corruption. Investors will benefit from new public-private partnership legislation,” Ukrainian prime minister Oleksiy Honcharuk said, making his case why it is worth investing in his country.

“Belarus has low inflation, convertible currency and a stable exchange rate in recent years. Thus, the macroeconomic situation is favourable for the arrival of investors,” Belarusian state news agency quoted Sergey Rumas, the prime minister of Belarus as saying.