Over the past year events surrounding the crisis in Ukraine and the rise of extremist groups in the Middle East have altered the geopolitical landscape. This has had a dramatic impact on many lives and also poses important challenges for governments, civil society and investors.
Are these events isolated incidents in a rapidly changing global environment or are they part of broader trends? How do investors deal with these changes? Do they have appetite for risk or are they looking for a predictable business environment in the aftermath of the global financial crisis?
As part of the EBRD Annual Meeting and Business Forum 2015, Investing in Times of Geopolitical Uncertainty will look into investor strategies and plans in the face of such turbulence.
It will begin with a key note address by Sir Michael Leigh who had a distinguished career within the EU running the EU’s Neighbourhood policy, including relations with Russia and Mediterranean countries. His remarks will focus on the current geopolitical landscape in Europe’s neighbourhood and how it may evolve in the coming years. How are the EU (and its member states) reacting to geopolitical risks and which policies are being employed to manage geopolitical uncertainty? What role can international financial institutions (IFIs) such as the EBRD play to promote economic and political reforms?
The speech will be followed by a discussion, moderated by Alan Rousso, the EBRD’s Managing Director for External Relations and Partnerships. The debate will cover three regional dimensions, including Russian-Western relations and the crisis in Ukraine, Turkey and Eurasia, as well as the Middle East and North Africa.
Political decisions, events and conditions are notoriously hard to predict – for investors as much as for anyone else. However, businesses and analysts can gain useful insight into future trends by identifying common patterns.
The panellists will discuss what businesses can do to take into account political risks in their investment decisions. Which measures are they taking to forecast emerging risks? Are investors exposed to similar risks or do they depend on different factors? Which strategies have they explored to mitigate them?
Changes in the geopolitical landscape can have a far-reaching impact on the global economy: they can lead to reduced investment flows, cause unexpected currency devaluations and threaten business operations. Governments have various tools at their disposal to attempt to avoid resulting economic upheavals. The role of policy-makers in times of geopolitical uncertainty will therefore be another area touched on in the panel debate.
At the global level, international financial institutions have gained long-term experience with geopolitical change. The EBRD itself was created in 1991 in response to the end of the Cold War, the collapse of communism in eastern Europe and hopes for re-integration of East and West based on institutions of markets and democracy. Twenty years later, the Arab Spring signified a similar shift in the southern and eastern Mediterranean and was the decisive factor in its shareholders asking the EBRD to expand its activities into this region.
The discussion will include the vital role of international actors, such as IFIs, in such a context: how can they provide strategic support to the private sector and help boost investments to individual companies?
Friday 15 May 2015
15:00 – 16:30, First Republic Room, Parliament Building
Alan Rousso, Managing Director, External Relations and Partnerships, EBRD
Michael Leigh, Senior Adviser, the German Marshall Fund of the US (former Director General, Enlargement, European Commission)
Christopher Granville, Managing Director and Director, Russia/FSU Research, Trusted Sources
Güven Sak, @guvsak, Managing Director, The Economic Policy Research Foundation of Turkey; Vice-Rector, TOBB University of Economics and Technology
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