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Russia: EBRD Launches Fund To Develop Southeast Region

London, 27 November 1996 (RFE/RL) -- The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has launched a $30 million fund to help the modernization of firms in southeastern Russia.

It is the eleventh and final fund established by the EBRD to promote development across Russia. The program was agreed by the Group of Seven leading industrial countries three years ago.

The fund, to be disbursed over 10 years, will cover the Black Earth region which lies some 600 kilometers south of Moscow. To be managed by a Dutch-led consortium, the fund will buy stakes in new or privatized enterprises to help them modernize and restructure.

It will target firms with between 200 and 5,000 employees.

The EBRD said last night the fund will be administered from offices in Voronezh to be opened this year. When it is established, the fund managers and EBRD will seek additional cash from new investors. The Black Earth region will also receive $20 million in technical help funds from one of the European Union's aid programs.