Odile Renaud-Basso, the first female president at Europe’s development bank, hopes to restore the EBRD’s green investment targets while addressing workplace equality as Covid-hit economies recover.

Before presiding over her first EBRD annual meeting this week, in an interview with AFP, Renaud-Basso also highlighted the rapid workplace digitalisation that is affecting the bank’s regions of investment as well as her own institution.

A former head of the French Treasury, in November Renaud-Basso took the helm at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development — founded in 1991 to help former Soviet bloc countries switch to free-market economies.

The lender, whose shareholders comprise almost 70 countries, has grown to invest in 38 emerging economies spanning central and eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa.

“On average, 2020 was less negative than expected” in the EBRD’s countries of investment, Renaud-Basso told AFP.

This year the EBRD foresees “much better than expected” economic growth across its countries of investment, after most economies contracted last year owing to pandemic turmoil, she said.

The bank is to publish its latest forecasts on Tuesday.