PMs discuss regional prospects at second EBRD Western Balkans Investment Summit

Western Balkans PMs and with EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti

LONDON – EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti said today the EBRD would continue to work to improve the investment climate in the Western Balkans and urged investors from the whole world to join the Bank in helping the region achieve its potential.

He was speaking at the EBRD’s second Western Balkans summit at EBRD headquarters, where Prime Ministers from the region joined entrepreneurs and other investors to discuss business opportunities in seven countries.

The EBRD had lead the way on investment in the Western Balkans and was determined to continue – and to help create the climate and conditions whereby we and others can commit still more, Sir Suma said in a speech.

“Today’s forum is another opportunity for us, together, to showcase the region’s many strengths – and to invite investors the world over to join us in realising its potential,” he added.

The meeting focussed especially the development of transport links, the potential for renewable energy and the privatisation agenda in the region which comprises Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, FYR Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia as well as Croatia.

Sir Suma opened the conference together with UK Minister of State for Trade and Investment Lord Maude of Horsham. The EBRD President said: “Regional cooperation is now a reality and this is testimony to the newly achieved maturity and stability of the region. Intensifying regional cooperation is one of the greatest achievements of the Western Balkans, a demonstration of the new vision of its political leaders.”

In the spirit of deepening and intensifying cooperation in the region the EBRD-backed SEE Link, an innovative regional platform for trading securities listed on the Bulgarian, Croatian and Macedonian stock exchanges, was launched during the Summit.

The Serbian and Slovenian bourses confirmed their intention to join the initiative during the conference in London, boosting regional integration of capital markets.

The Summit aims to highlight investment and business opportunities in the region and promote the inflow of foreign direct investment and cross-border projects. Participants included government officials, policy-makers, experts as well as leading domestic and international business representatives.

The event has proved very popular with the public and is being attended by more than 300 guests. The first Western Balkans summit was held two years ago in February 2014.

The EBRD is one of the largest investors in the Western Balkans and last year alone the Bank invested around €1 billion in various projects from energy efficiency to infrastructure and from support for financial institutions to agribusiness.