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Huge impetus for us to cooperate with the Belt and Road: EBRD

By Du Mingming, Morag Hobbs (People's Daily Online)    17:31, April 26, 2019

The Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) kicked off yesterday, April 25 in Beijing, welcoming heads of state and government from 37 countries to discuss the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). In an exclusive interview with People’s Daily Online, Nandita Parshad, the managing director of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), said she had high expectations for the forum, as it will give EBRD a chance to more closely cooperate with China.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development was established in 1991, and has since expanded its geography to include 39 economies with a widely divergent geography and base, including countries such as Mongolia, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Tunisia, and even Greece.

EBRD, therefore, operates in a region that overlaps substantially with the BRI, meaning although not directly linked to the initiative, the bank has a vested interest in these economies. Ms Parshad explains, “of course, there is a huge impetus for us to cooperate with the Belt and Road, for us to see the benefit of that initiative for our region and to mobilize all the help we can get to improve the quality of life of people in that part of the world.”

Parshad explained that since she started working for EBRD 26 years ago, she has witnessed China’s global reach expanding, and thinks that other countries can learn from the nation’s example.

“What I’ve seen over the years is the growing importance of China in energy and infrastructure, and particularly in green energy. China is an enormous player,” she explained.

According to Parshad, EBRD aims to improve the quality of lives of people in the countries they are involved in, so investment is focused on what the country and its local communities need. “Whether we’re investing in green energy, which is improving the quality of air in cities or bringing electric buses to replace diesel buses, wastewater, solid waste, these are all projects which affect the daily lives of people.”

This is in line with this year’s BRF, which will focus heavily on sustainable growth and green energy. Countries around the work now look to China to bring the huge benefit of low-cost renewable energy to the rest of the world, while the scope of Chinese business in other countries has dramatically increased. “We now work with a number of Chinese companies, Chinese suppliers, and also Chinese investors in our region,” Parshad noted.

She continued that China is an example of how a country with huge investment and infrastructure can improve the quality of people’s lives. “Infrastructure is a great enabler of the private sector, of allowing economies to development, creating jobs, employment.

“Last year I visited the largest project in Mongolia, in the Gobi desert. I think it might be the largest copper underground mine in the world. What struck me during that visit is that 95 percent of the people employed at this enormous mine were Mongolian.”

That’s when you realize, she noted, how you can create real, sustainable income for people in these projects.

While at the BRF, EBRD and Green Climate Fund agreed to provide $16.7 million to finance a solar plant in Kazakstan. Parshad and Nan Yi, President and CEO of Universal Energy signed the agreement as the developer of the project.

Parshad’s hopes are high for the final days of this year's BRF, with discussions and potential agreements ongoing. “What the BRI is going to do, clearly, is create opportunities. It has countries along the route thinking much bigger and broader about infrastructure and connectivity,” she concluded. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)
(Web editor: He Zhuoyan, Bianji)

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