(Ecofin Agency) - The two countries are on the brink of securing membership in the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), marking a significant milestone facilitated by recent changes in the institution's statutes. However, the details of the membership requirements remain somewhat undefined.
The shareholders of the EBRD have granted their approval for the membership applications submitted by Benin and Côte d'Ivoire. These approvals come in response to membership applications made by the authorities of both countries in July and August of 2023 and signify a pivotal moment in the expansion of the multilateral financial institution in sub-Saharan Africa.
EBRD President, Odile Renaud-Basso, expressed her excitement in welcoming the new members. She underscored the significance of this expansion in alignment with the EBRD's strategic objectives in sub-Saharan Africa and its potential to provide substantial value to the region.
This development was endorsed at the first stage of the membership process by the EBRD's Board of Governors. However, the two nations still have to meet certain prerequisites before the process can be finally concluded. This initiative follows decisions made at the EBRD's 2023 Annual Meeting in Samarkand, where amendments to the Bank's Articles of Association were ratified to facilitate a limited and gradual extension of the EBRD's operations into sub-Saharan Africa and Iraq.
Benin and Côte d'Ivoire have also expressed a keen interest in benefiting from the EBRD's financial and advisory services, a request that will be reviewed once the statutory amendments come into effect. Notably, other countries in the sub-region, including Kenya, Senegal, Nigeria, and Ghana, are also eligible to explore potential EBRD membership.
Since its establishment in 1991, the EBRD has invested nearly €190 billion in 6,844 projects, lending support to political reform and private sector development across over 30 economies globally. Before this, it had already been involved in North African countries such as Tunisia, Egypt, and Morocco.