European Bank for Reconstruction and Development President Sir Suma Chakrabarti met with four Indian journalists at the EBRD on 26th January ahead of his visit to India in late January and early February. Also with him were Nandita Parshad, the EBRD's Director for Power and Energy and Josue Tanaka, MD of the EBRD’s Energy Efficiency and Climate Change wing.
The main purpose of the trip is to attend the Delhi Sustainable Development Summit from 4-7 February, where the President will make a keynote statement. There will also be meetings with Indian government officials like Finance Minister Arun Jaitley and Central Bank as well as with Indian businesses. At the DSDS summit, the EBRD President will highlight the Bank’s work in investments in Sustainable Energy. The Delhi conference is seen as an important step on the road to the Paris climate talks at the end of this year.
The President’s business meetings in Mumbai, Kolkata as well as in Delhi will strengthen links to those corporations with which the EBRD invests in its countries of operations or with whom it might cooperate in the future.
Kolkata figures for the second time in Sir Suma’s official schedule as he is meeting with SREI there, as he did two years ago. “We have done very successful leasing projects with SREI in Russia,” he said, and also told The Asian Voice that he planned to discuss future opportunities with SREI. This paper asked him about the effect of turbulence in the state on his visit. He replied that any unrest had no impact on his visit, and that he was “perfectly safe in Shantiniketan and Baliganj, the two places I’ll be staying.”
India is not a shareholder member of the EBRD and the EBRD does not invest in the country. Indian companies invest with EBRD particularly in Georgia and Russia, Turkey, North Africa and Turkey. Sir Suma said that last week in Davos he met Cyrus Mistry, Tata, and Tech Mahindra. He plans to meet Anand Mahindra in Mumbai this week.
India is an important source of foreign direct investment in the EBRD’s countries of operations. The value of joint India-EBRD investment stood at €871 million as of 31 December 2014. EBRD finance accounted for €695.8 million, and India investment accounted for €175.2 million. The majority of these deals were in the private sector.
India-EBRD investment has been strong in Russia followed by Turkey, and Romania. Broken down by industry, joint India-EBRD investment has been €573.9 million in financial institutions, and €297.1 million in industry, commerce and agribusiness.
Examples of projects are: Shuakhevi HPP (with Tata in Georgia), The Bank has also worked with SREI Leasing, Tata Tea, On a Steel Project supported by JSW, Mittal Steel Temirtau.
When asked Sir Suma about investing in areas of unrest, he told Asian Voice, “The EBRD’s mandate includes political assessment of whether a country is committed to applying the principles of multiparty democracy and political pluralism. No other international institution has that as its mandate. Russia is a classic example right now. Our shareholders, our board, is made up of countries. That board gave us guidance at the end of July last year that we shouldn’t bring any new projects to the board for Russia because of the current situation between Russia and Ukraine. So Russia, which was our biggest market, the year before last and has been for some years, last year fell back. Our annual investment in Russia was only 600 m euros. We were planning on something like 1.9 bn euros.”