European development bank to sign solar pact with International Solar Alliance
The president of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will arrive in India today on a three-day visit during which he is expected to clinch a pact with the International Solar Alliance (ISA) for cooperation on renewable energy projects around the world. Suma Chakrabarti, who is visiting the Indian capital to attend the Prabodhan Leaders’ Conclave, will witness the signing of a joint declaration between the EBRD and ISA, setting out cooperation between the two institutions. The ISA was launched in November, 2015 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and then French President Francois Hollande during the COP21 UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, and has created a platform for the promotion of solar energy across its 121 member countries. “This visit is an important opportunity for the EBRD to strengthen further its ties with Indian companies and scale up further joint investments with high-quality Indian firms in emerging economies in the EBRD regions,” Chakrabarti said in a pre-visit statement. “I am also looking forward to sharing our experiences and learning from others in the discussions about Smart Cities,” he said.
UK-headquartered EBRD is a multilateral development bank set up in 1991 after the fall of the Berlin Wall to foster the transition towards open market-oriented economies and to promote private and entrepreneurial initiative in emerging Europe. The EBRD invests in 38 emerging economies across three continents, according to a set of criteria that aim to make its countries more competitive, better governed, greener, more inclusive, more resilient and more integrated. The value of joint India-EBRD investment in its region of operation is estimated at around 1 billion euros, mostly in the private sector. The bank says it has worked closely with several Indian partners in its countries of operations, including the Tata Group, EximBank, SREI and Jindal. “The visit of the EBRD president will provide the opportunity to sign several agreements on future projects and areas of cooperation, underlining the bank’s commitment to sustainable development, renewable energy and strengthening of the private sector,” EBRD said in a statement.
During a panel discussion at the Leaders’ Conclave entitled ‘Smart Cities: What can India learn and unlearn from Europe’, Chakrabarti will outline the EBRD’s work in municipal and environmental services. The improvement of water, wastewater and solid waste systems, urban transport and district heating is a key part of the EBRD’s mandate. During the visit, he will also participate in high-level meetings between the EBRD and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) aimed at enhancing cooperation between the two organisations and paving the way for more joint investments between the EBRD and Indian corporations in the EBRD’s countries of operations.