A representative of the EFSD Project Block gives a series of presentations during the IMF and WBG Spring Meetings
Washington, 12-14 April 2019. Evgeny Vinokurov, Chief Economist at the Project Block of the Eurasian Fund for Stabilization and Development (EFSD, Fund) managed by the Eurasian Development Bank (EDB), gave a series of presentations during the Spring Meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group. The Spring Meetings are one of the world’s most prominent fora for financial institutions to discuss cooperation and share opinions on economic development and the sophistication of project instruments.
The presentations informed the participants in the meetings about the operations of the EFSD Project Block. The Fund is intended to play a key role in protecting its member states against regional and global risks. Its importance keeps growing – the amount of funds extended to borrowing countries under the Fund’s programmes has already reached those raised from leading international financial institutions.
Explaining the developments in Eurasian economic integration, Evgeny Vinokurov advocated a comprehensive and balanced approach to evaluating the performance of the EAEU. He emphasised the importance of tangible coordination of the key components of the EAEU countries’ macroeconomic policies, such as inflation, budget deficit and public debt. Such coordination is necessary to ensure the harmonious development of the EAEU member states and prevent trade conflicts between them.
Giving a presentation at the round table on Regional Transport Connectivity in Central Asia and the Caucasus, Evgeny Vinokurov suggested that focus should be placed on the actual development of trade flows. Over the recent six years, freight transit from China to Europe through Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus increased by 50-100% a year and began to slow down in 2018 only, with a growth of 30%. Container shipments using Russian, Kazakh and Belarusian railroads offer significant benefits for freighters, but they’re nearing their growth ceiling. To ensure further growth, tariffs should be lowered and this will only be possible if international cooperation is enhanced. Another important factor is significant developments in “soft infrastructure,” or regulatory convergence.
Speaking about the prospects for regional transport corridors in Central Asia, Evgeny Vinokurov emphasised that grants need to be extended to prepare preliminary and final feasibility studies. Even if these studies result in negative findings (that, for example, a project is not economically feasible), they will help to prevent inefficient investment and money won’t be wasted.
The Eurasian Development Bank (EDB) is an international financial institution founded by Russia and Kazakhstan in January 2006 with the mission to facilitate the development of market economies, sustainable economic growth, and the expansion of mutual trade and other economic ties in its member states. The EDB's charter capital totals US $7 billion. The member states of the Bank are the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation, and the Republic of Tajikistan.
The Eurasian Fund for Stabilization and Development (EFSD) is a regional financial mechanism totalling US $8.513 billion, established on 9 June 2009 by the governments of the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, the Russian Federation, and the Republic of Tajikistan. The Eurasian Development Bank manages the EFSD's resources. The EFSD Project Block prepares and implements the Fund’s projects.
The Fund aims to assist its member states in ensuring economic and financial stability and support integration in the region. It is also part of the global financial safety net.