In a two-hour, on-the-record meeting at Bloomberg on May 26, France’s Odile Renaud-Basso, the first female head of the London-based Bank for Reconstruction and Development, provided a detailed inside view of plans for rebuilding war-torn Ukraine once the war ends. While current spending on rebuilding heavily-damaged infrastructure stands at some 3 billion dollars annually, she confirmed that some 411 billion dollars, at least, will be required to rebuild the entire economy, with the participation of other governmental bodies such as the World Bank and private companies.

Declaring “unwavering” support from the EBRD’s 71 member states, including the US, she said that one of the major goals is preparing Ukraine for EU membership, which will take years. This extends to ensuring “good governance”, meaning, among other things, implementing enforceable anti-corruption policies.

Meanwhile, behind-the-scenes talks among Western nations are continuing, she said, regarding suggestions that Russia be made to help pay for reconstruction by tapping its billion-dollar reserves currently frozen in Western banks. That thorny issue will be discussed at a major international conference on Ukraine rebuilding, which the EBRD will attend, to be held in London June 21-22.

– Axel Kraus