EBRD chief ex­pected to fend off chal­lenge from pol­ish cen­tral banker

The Pak Banker - - FRONT PAGE -

LON­DON: Euro­pean Bank for Re­con­struc­tion and De­vel­op­ment Pres­i­dent Suma Chakrabarti is ex­pected to fend off a chal­lenge from Poland's cen­tral bank chief Marek Belka to head the bank for the next four years.

The dead­line for nom­i­na­tions for the bank's top job is mid­night on Fri­day in Lon­don, where the bank is based. Belka, who was Poland's prime min­is­ter in 2004-05 and headed the IMF's Euro­pean Depart­ment when the Greek debt cri­sis erupted, looks set to be the only chal­lenger, but he faces an up­hill bat­tle.

Chakrabarti, a Bri­tish for­mer civil ser­vant, has been at the helm of the EBRD since 2012, hav­ing got the job largely thanks to a com­plex deal over top Euro­pean posts at the time. He has re­ceived sup­port for an­other term from ma­jor play­ers such as France. Last year's change of govern­ment in Poland has also held up Belka's en­try into the race, giv­ing him lim­ited time to rally po­ten­tial back­ers.

"The chances (I will join the EBRD) are re­ally very min­i­mal," Belka said in War­saw on Fri­day. The EBRD was cre­ated in 1991, orig­i­nally to in­vest in the for­mer Soviet bloc coun­tries of east­ern Europe to re­build their economies and im­prove com­mu­nist-era in­fra­struc­ture. But it has ex­panded rapidly over the last decade. It is now in Mon­go­lia and Turkey, as well as Arab states such as Morocco, Egypt, Tu­nisia and Jor­dan, as well as euro cri­sis coun­tries Greece and Cyprus. Le­banon is set to be next, while China has also be­come a mem­ber. The bank's share­hold­ers, whose vot­ing power is heav­ily dom­i­nated by the G7 group of ma­jor de­vel­oped coun­tries, will de­cide on the EBRD lead­er­ship at their an­nual meet­ing in Lon­don in mid-May. Though Chakrabarti is strong favourite, his cur­rent term has been a dif­fi­cult one for the de­vel­op­ment bank.

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