The EBRD’s Board of Directors has approved a new strategy for Serbia which will guide the Bank’s investments and policy work in the country for the next five years, the bank announced on March 5.
The 2018-23 strategy sets out the following priorities: foster competitiveness and governance by boosting private companies and reforming state-owned enterprises and public utilities; enhance integration by improving the transport network, supporting regional economic connectivity and advancing energy interconnections; support the green economy through investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy as well as promoting sustainable practices across industries.
– The new strategy for Serbia follows a year of strong EBRD investment in the country. In 2017 the Bank provided over EUR 380 million in more than 20 projects across various sectors of the Serbian economy. Investments included loans for the construction of two large wind farms, the upgrade of a railway maintenance depot, the modernization of air traffic control, the expansion of a retail center in Belgrade and new funds to a local lender to boost SME and mortgage lending – the EBRD said.
The EBRD adds that the country has largely overcome the economic disruption in the wake of the severe floods in 2014 but the need to increase foreign and domestic investment calls for more efforts to improve the business environment.
Daniel Berg, EBRD Director for Serbia, said that they projected that the Serbian economy would grow by 2.9% in 2018.
– With this positive base, it is the right moment to focus even more strongly on reforms. Our strategy will support the government’s priorities with investment and policy engagement. The EBRD will keep its focus on the restructuring of state-owned enterprises and encouraging greater participation of private sector companies in sectors largely dominated by the state – Berg announced.
According to him, the EBRD will also continue working with the authorities to promote improvements in the business environment and improving access to finance to support entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized enterprises.
The EBRD is a leading institutional investor in Serbia. To date, it has invested EUR 4.7 billion across some 200 projects in the country.
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