EIB commits to continue supporting African investment

25Feb 2020
The Guardian
EIB commits to continue supporting African investment

THE European Investment Bank (EIB) expects to significantly increase engagement in both sub-Saharan and North Africa and to provide €4-billion to support public and private investment across the continent this year.

EIB president Werner Hoyer.

By Tasneem Bulbulia

This will include increased support for infrastructure that drives private sector growth, enabling job creation by entrepreneurs, startup companies and corporates, and new financing for climate-related investment and sustainable development, the bank said in a release on Monday.

It pointed out that it had, during 2019, provided €3-billion of new financing to support €10.7-billion of transformational investment across Africa.

“In recent months, the EIB has launched pioneering new initiatives to accelerate new investment essential to enabling women to fully participate in economic activity under the pioneering SheInvest programme, to ensure African innovation companies can expand and to combine our financial understanding with philanthropy to tackle malaria,” EIB president Werner Hoyer said.

The EIB directly supported 58 new investment projects located in 22 African countries and, in cooperation with both African and international financial partners, backed projects in many other countries across the continent through regional financing programmes.

“The European Union bank is continually increasing the impact of investment that supports sustainable development and addressing climate change in Africa.

“New support confirmed last year is providing thousands of schools and health centres with reliable electricity for the first time, ensuring that African farmers in the Sahel, Eastern and Southern Africa can access finance, providing clean water for millions of people in the Sahel and Southern Africa, and upgrading sustainable transport in Africa’s largest city and the island State of São Tomé and Príncipe,” said EIB development VP Ambrose Fayolle. 

Fayolle noted that the EIB had also entered into new cooperation agreements with experienced African financial institutions that are delivering hundreds of small-scale clean energy, digital, education, health and micro-finance schemes across the continent.

Last year, the EIB provided more than €1.8-billion to support private sector investment across Africa, representing 60% of overall engagement on the continent.

This included €500-million of new dedicated support for African startup companies’ engagement in digital, agribusiness, financial inclusion and health services.

New EIB cooperation with African corporate, banking and micro-finance partners is providing specialist financing for smallholder farmers, removing local currency costs holding back investment and helping private companies invest in climate adaptation.

New private sector financing programmes were agreed with local banks and micro-finance partners that include dedicated financing intended to reduce gender inequality, provide long-term financing in local currency and target tailor-made financial products for agribusiness.