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Tunisia: EBRD to invest up to €2.5 billion a year in Arab Spring countries

The EBRD would be capable of investing up to around €2.5 billion a year across the four Arab Spring countries where it is now becoming active – Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Jordan — and that funding would be a catalyst for private financing worth much more.
The EBRD, encouraged by its shareholders to extend its remit to this new region, would play a role that matched its own expertise. It would focus on the development of the private sector and especially the creation of jobs, a particular issue given the very high levels of youth unemployment in the region, said EBRD President Thomas Mirow at a lecture at the London School of Economics on Thursday.
“The international community could not turn its back on a new generation seeking the chance of a better life,” he also said.
But he also warned that the process of change took time and said it would be wrong to build up false expectations.
President Mirow said there were similarities between recent events in the Middle East and North Africa and the revolutions in Eastern Europe two decades ago.
The hopes voiced after the fall of communism were now being echoed in parts of the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean. “It is a call, just as in 1989, that the world cannot ignore,” he said.
However, the President also stressed that the Bank’s experience of working in Eastern Europe demonstrated the complexities of the process of economic and social change and he warned that expectations had to be managed.
The London-based EBRD operates in 29 countries of Central Europe Central Asia, notably Hungary, Kazakhstan, Russia and Turkey.

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