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Iraq becomes member of European development bank

REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani
Iraqi workers lay asphalt as a Al-Karada street is paved in Baghdad on May 12, 2023. EBRD membership will unlock finance and policy support for Baghdad

Iraq has become the 74th member of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the multilateral lender said on Thursday, while Ghana and Senegal have also applied to join.

Iraq first submitted its request to join the bank in 2018, and its shareholder status enables it to apply to become a recipient economy, which would unlock EBRD finance and policy support.

“When the time comes, we are looking forward to starting work in Iraq, applying our expertise to developing its economy,” EBRD president Odile Renaud-Basso said in a statement.

Renaud-Basso told Reuters that Senegal and Ghana had submitted applications to join the bank in the latest sign of its push into sub-Saharan Africa.

She said those applications would be sent to the EBRD board of governors for approval. The lender said last month that it had approved applications from Benin and Ivory Coast.

The EBRD was set up 32 years ago to invest in the ex-communist economies of eastern Europe, and currently operates in Europe, the Middle East, North Africa and central Asia.

On Wednesday, the bank took the first steps to enable a €4 billion increase to its current share capital of 30 billion euros, aimed mainly at enabling further support for Ukraine. If approved by the bank’s governors, it would mark the third share capital increase in its history.