LONDON/ROME (Reuters) - Governors of European Bank for Reconstruction and Development pledged to shift more than 50% of the lender’s investments towards green projects by 2025, gave Iraq the nod to join and formally postponed plans to expand into sub-Saharan Africa
EBRD governors, currently congregating virtually for the bank’s annual meeting, signed off on the lender’s strategy for the next five years. They are also due to elect a new president on Thursday, with sources saying France’s Odile Renaud-Basso is set to become the next president.
The sign-off confirms the lender’s pivot towards on projects that will help shift countries to a low-carbon economy while governors also agreed as expected to a request from Iraq to become a shareholder of the bank.
The new strategy confirmed policymakers would revisit expanding into Sub-Saharan Africa, which was originally expected to begin this year, to 2022 and focus on its existing countries of operation for now.
“The COVID pandemic has hit all our countries of operations hard,” EBRD governor for Spain Nadia Calvino said in a recorded video message at the opening of the meeting.
“Our priority now is on crisis response, on recovery, and on building back better to accelerate transition.”
The EBRD was set up in 1991 to invest in the ex-communist economies of eastern Europe. It now operates in 38 economies, chiefly in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and central Asia.
Meanwhile French Treasury head Renaud-Basso was on track to take on the top job at the bank, according to sources, after Italy’s former economy minister, Pier Carlo Padoan, had pulled out of the race for president.
Padoan and Renaud-Basso were seen as the front runners for the position, with Polish Finance Minister Tadeusz Koscinski also in the race.
The EBRD confirmed that the vote was now between Renaud-Basso and Koscinski.
Renaud-Basso is set to succeed Britain’s Suma Chakrabarti, who finished his second four-year term earlier in the year. If confirmed, she would become the fourth French president of the EBRD.
To be elected, a candidate has to receive the votes of a majority of governors, representing a majority of the total voting power of members.
Reporting by Karin Strohecker and Tom Arnold in London and Giuseppe Fonte in Rome; writing by Karin Strohecker; editing by Mark Potter, Jan Harvey, Larry King
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