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EBRD chief to meet Jaitley, Rajan in India

Press Trust of India  |  London 

The chief of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will travel to India this week to hold talks with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and RBI governor Raghuram Rajan besides exploring opportunities for cooperation in the banking sector.

The visit of Sir Suma Chakrabarti, the Kolkata-born president of the London-headquartered bank, centres around his address at the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit between February 5-7, but will involve a broader agenda of engaging with Indian companies.

"There is a really good business reason to engage more closely with Indian companies as we are in Turkey in a big way and Indian commercial interests in Turkey are growing; we are also in North Africa and Indian commercial interests in Egypt are large," Sir Suma said at a briefing.

"The bank's skills in the area of energy efficiency are now much in demand globally, and we are happy to share our expertise with those who want it outside our regions," he added in reference to the other aspect of the visit, which will also cover Mumbai and Kolkata besides New Delhi.

During the visit, Sir Suma and his team will also be engaging with the Indian banking system to share expertise in the field of financing energy efficiency projects for small and medium enterprises of the country.

The EBRD, which invests mainly in the private sector in emerging Europe and North African countries, sees India as an important source of foreign direct investment (FDI) in its countries of operations.

The value of joint India-EBRD investment stood at 871 million euros (USD 990 million) at the end of 2014.

India has also expressed an interest in becoming a member of the bank, a multi-lateral financial institution set up with the aim of fostering market economies.

"Obviously with a new government now there which is very interested in a private sector approach to development, which we (EBRD), of course, champion, it would be interesting to see if they are interested in membership.

"But that's not the primary purpose of the visit. It would be up to Mr Jaitley," Sir Suma explained.

Since the EBRD president last visited India in 2013, the bank has made an important investment with the Tata Group in Georgia of USD 89.9 million to develop, build and operate the Shuakhevi hydroelectric power plant.

The Tata Power project was signed in May, 2014 and the bank has also worked with Tata Tea in the past.

India-EBRD investment has been especially strong in Russia at 608. 3 million euros, followed by Turkey at 75 million euros, and Romania at 60. 2 million euros.

Broken down by industry, joint India-EBRD investment has been 573.9 million euros in financial institutions and 297.1 million euros in industry, commerce and agribusiness.

First Published: Wed, January 28 2015. 16:55 IST