The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development announced Saturday that it had approved an investment of 1.0 billion euros ($1.28 billion) for expansion into North Africa and the Middle East.
After years of investing in mainly private-sector enterprises across mostly ex-communist nations in Europe and central Asia, the EBRD has set its sights on Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Jordan following the Arab Spring uprisings.
“The EBRD’s shareholders agreed on Saturday to the creation of a 1.0 billion euro special fund to start investments in emerging Arab democracies in response to the wave of political change in parts of the Middle East and North Africa,” the bank said after a vote of shareholders at its annual meeting in London.
“The fund is being financed out of the Bank’s reserves and will allow the Bank to start operations as a prelude to full-scale investment in the new region after an extension of the EBRD’s geographic remit has been ratified.”
It added in a statement: “The EBRD is planning to invest specifically in Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Jordan. It has opened preliminary offices in all four of these countries, appointed a managing director for the region and hired additional staff with regional experience.”