The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) hosted a Western Balkans Investment Summit in London on Monday, 26 February. A number of high level public officials, including all six Prime Ministers from the region gathered in EBRD's London headquarters to present their countries' potential in attracting private investment at the same time addressing bottlenecks in front of representatives from the private sector.
This was the third EBRD Western Balkans Investment Summit covering topics of "Regional Transport Connectivity”, “Sustainable Regional Energy Model” and “Soft Connectivity Agenda for the Western Balkans”. In his opening remarks, Bulgarian Prime Minister Borissov – whose country is hosting the EU Council rotating presidency – estimated that the total value of investment in transport and energy infrastructure in the region stands at around 50 BEUR and into digital connectivity around 5 BEUR. The investment needed will be discussed in a meeting between President Juncker and the six Western Balkans Prime Ministers in Sofia on Thursday 01 March.
A number of projects were signed on the margins of the Summit,
- 700 MEUR investment programme for road infrastructure and building modern motorways in BIH, in the period 2018-2020.
- BIH & EBRD agreed to launch Investment Climate and Governance Initiative. The EBRD will aim to improve the legal environment, helping to strengthen dispute resolution mechanisms, improve public procurement practices, tackle informal economy and enhance transparency in the public and corporate sectors.
- Montenegro & EBRD will work towards enhancing the government’s institutional capacity by supporting key reforms in the area of competition policy and supporting the delivery of eGovernment and eServices platforms.
- EBRD and Albania will boost local currency finance.
- 20 MEUR to support the development of Port of Bar, Montenegro’s main sea port.
- 181 MEUR EBRD finance contributing to upgrade of the road network in Macedonia.
The EBRD is one of the largest investors in the Western Balkans and last year alone the Bank invested around 1 billion EUR in various projects, ranging from energy efficiency to infrastructure and from support for financial institutions to agribusiness.