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European Bank for Reconstruction Doubles Investments in Russia, Diverting Money From East Europe

"Our main priority is the infrastructure," said Lemierre

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development announced on Monday, May 15, that it would double its investments in Russia over the next five years to assist the private sector and attract funds for infrastructure projects.

Jean Lemierre, chairman of the bank, based in London, said that the increase in funding would rise from $1.4 billion in 2005 to more than $2.6 billion starting this year until 2010. These increases do not include the bank?s loans and equity stakes, which will rise from $5.5 billion this year to an estimated $9.7 billion by 2010.

?Our main priority is the infrastructure,? said Lemierre. ?There is a massive need for investments in roads, airports, ports ? but also in the power sector and electricity grids. On the municipal level, there is a need for investments in urban transport, water, wastewater, district heating. The infrastructure will be the focus of our activities, but by also mobilizing the private sector.?

The increased funds for Russia, as well as the Western Balkan nations, will be diverted from the East European countries that joined the European Union two years ago.