libya joins ebrd in bid for bank funds
Last Updated : GMT 09:42:23
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Libya joins EBRD in bid for bank funds

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Libya joins EBRD in bid for bank funds

Warsaw - AFP

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development voted here Thursday in favour of Libya becoming a member country, a move that could see it eventually receive EBRD financing. The bank's board of governors approved membership for the north African country on the final day of the EBRD annual meeting in Warsaw. "Libya has become a member of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, with a view to becoming an EBRD recipient country, which would enable Libya to benefit from the Bank’s investment programmes," said a statement. "Any decision to grant recipient country status to Libya will be taken separately following a thorough assessment by the Bank of the political, economic and operational environment in the country," it added. The EBRD was founded in 1991 to help ex-Soviet bloc countries such as Ukraine and conference host Poland make the transition to free-market economies and democracy. Two years ago, it expanded its reach to invest in Jordan and three countries in north Africa -- Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco -- in the wake of the Arab Spring uprisings. Libyan authorities last year sought EBRD membership as the country seeks to "implement programmes of economic reform and would contribute to its economic growth", the London-based bank said Thursday. However, EBRD chief economist Erik Berglof told reporters on Wednesday that the bank could not begin investing in Libya unless "basic security" was in place. "Provided that this happens and that there is a commitment from the government to work with the EBRD, there will be very exciting opportunities." He told a press conference: "The private sector in Libya is about five percent so there is an enormous amount of things to do… we will enter into a process now of assessing what the needs are and that will be very interesting -- the fact-finding effort both in terms of economic reforms but also looking at the political side." Libya last week confirmed the appointment of a new premier after a chaotic vote highlighting tensions between Islamists and liberals in a country sapped by violence nearly three years after the overthrow of Moamer Kadhafi. The General National Congress, the interim parliament, confirmed Ahmed Miitig, an Islamist-backed businessman, as prime minister. Since 2012, the EBRD has invested 871 million euros ($1.2 billion) in 34 projects across Jordan and the three north African countries in which it currently invests.

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