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Businesses in Greece have to be supported

11 March 16 | Sir Suma Chakrabarti
Sir Suma Chakrabarti

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The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) stands ready to support Greek businesses using both with its own funds and financing from third parties, while working with the authorities on policy reform,

 

EBRD President Sir Suma Chakrabarti said in an exclusive article submitted to Greek news agency earlier this week. Noting that the country faces huge challenges, he also pointed to what he called many promising signs. "Greece has many good and solid companies.

The entrepreneurial spirit has not been crushed by long years of recession and is ready to bounce back. The appetite and need for investment are huge. 

The EBRD stands ready to support this with our own money, by attracting third-party finance and by working on policy reform with the authorities with whom we are also mapping out our strategy for Greece for the coming years," he said.

Chakrabarti, who was in Athens a few days ago for the launch of the EBRD's operations in Greece, said he was leaving Greece with "strong impressions" and that if reforms stay on track, the bank expects to "move full steam ahead" and bring many more projects to fruition.

Read here bellow  the president’s full statement:

Supporting the recovery of Greece

By Sir Suma Chakrabarti, President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development EBRD.

A few days ago I had the opportunity to visit Athens for the first time since Greece became a country where the EBRD invests.

Last year’s decision to invest in Greece until end-2020 came at the request of the Greek authorities and with the consent of our shareholders to support the recovery of the country’s economy from a deep and protracted crisis.

My brief stay in Athens allowed me to meet government, business and banking sector representatives and to open an office which will serve as a base for our activities across the country.

I left Greece with strong impressions. It is obvious that the country is facing enormous challenges. Our economists do not expect a return to growth before next year and the highly volatile global economic and political environment is not helping.

Greece has embarked on bold and painful reforms. Important steps have been taken, but there is still more to do – both to meet international obligations and also to create the conditions for a sound and sustainable recovery.

At the same time I witnessed many promising signs. Greece has many good and solid companies. The entrepreneurial spirit has not been crushed by long years of recession and is ready to bounce back. The appetite and need for investment are huge.

The EBRD stands ready to support this with our own money, by attracting third-party finance and by working on policy reform with the authorities with whom we are also mapping out our strategy for Greece for the coming years.

A key element in this strategy will be the stabilisation of the banking sector. This is critical so that Greek companies, many of which are small and privately-owned, regain access to finance.
Another one is turning Greece’s geographic location into an advantage. At the moment the country is under enormous strain from the crisis in the Middle East. But it also has the potential to become a hub on land and sea for transport and energy between Europa and Asia.

Improved regional links will also help the integration of Greek companies into the global economy. Anyone who has ever visited Greece has enjoyed the quality of local products. Yet exports remain well below potential. I am very pleased that we were able to make a first contribution to support the Greek export industry by signing a trade finance facility with a leading local bank during my visit.

This was just the latest example of EBRD activities in the country. We had already taken part in the recapitalisation of the four systemic Greek banks, participated in a bond purchase and invested in fund that promotes small and medium-sized enterprises.

If reforms stay on track, we now expect to move full steam ahead and bring many more projects to fruition.

We are continuing to develop a strong pipeline in the corporate sector. We are in advanced talks with several agribusiness companies, a local sector in which we see a lot of potential. At the same time we are building up projects in tourism, pharmaceuticals, ITC and logistics.

We will support privatisations and also seek to work with municipalities across the country to help improve the quality of their services.

These are just a few examples that do not simply illustrate the EBRD’s plans for Greece but which also highlight the enormous potential we see in Greece. For too many years now this has been overshadowed by the crisis. It is now time to turn a page and start looking ahead. The EBRD stands ready to make its contribution.
 

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