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EU Bank financing for young entrepreneurs and private sector, as well as key services across Africa announced alongside AU-EU summit

EU Bank financing for young entrepreneurs and private sector, as well as key services across Africa announced alongside AU-EU summit
Photo credit: EIF

29 Nov 2017

Ahead of the fifth African Union-European Union summit taking place in in Abidjan this week the European Investment Bank (EIB) has formally agreed financing to support more than EUR 230 million of private sector investment across Africa.

The new initiatives, backed by the European Union’s long-term lending institution, will enhance access to credit by African smallholders and microenterprises, increase investment in health and education targeting low-income families across West Africa, foster growth of African digital and technology, start-up companies and promote financial inclusion of rural communities in Ethiopia.

In addition to this:

  • The EIB has also signed its first transaction with the African Export Import Bank (Afreximbank) for EUR 100 million to support trade-related investments and projects between Europe and Africa.

  • Major financing of EUR 35 million from the EIB was also agreed with the Côte d’Ivoire government to modernise the country’s water supply networks. This comes alongside grant support from the European Commission and co-financing from the French Development Agency (AFD). The project will supply drinking water to an expected 700.000 people.

  • The EIB will commit up to EUR 15 million for SME support via the Maghreb Private Equity Fund The Fund will target primarily growth capital investments in small and medium-sized private companies in Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and Egypt, covering sectors like healthcare and pharmaceuticals, consumer goods, manufacturing, retail and financial services, transportation and logistics, agro-industry, education and information technology.

  • And a new agreement between the European Commission and the EIB, also signed in Abidjan, will extend the reach of reliable and clean electricity via the Senelac programme to another 55,000 people living in one of the poorest regions of Senegal.

Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank said: “The EIB, as the EU Bank, is committed to supporting new investment in Africa that unlocks economic opportunities, creates jobs and tackles a changing climate. As African and European leaders gather in Abidjan, we are pleased to confirm support for fresh investment across this continent that will support priority sectors, improve provision of key services for the most vulnerable and ensure a better future for generations of young women and men.

“The broad range of new investment which we have agreed this week reflects the European Union’s policy priorities and shows the unique engagement of the EU Bank in Africa. These new contracts would not be possible without the hard work and professional engagement of our partners across this vibrant continent. The EIB is working alongside its fellow EU institutions to promote sustainable growth, foster innovation and create the new jobs that will benefit people living in Europe and Africa alike.”

EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle, responsible for Development said: “At the EIB we are now doubling our efforts to find even better ways to target what needs to be done in term of productive investments that generate jobs in Africa and support its sustainable development. That means supporting key infrastructure – such as the energy and water projects announced here in Abidjan – as well as fostering innovation and small businesses.

“We know that by 2050, Africa’s population may hit 2.4 billion of predominantly young people. That is why we are pushing initiatives like Boost Africa for innovative start-ups, in partnership with the African Development Bank and the European Commission, as well as the new financing for microenterprises and SMEs such as we have signed this week.”

The fresh EIB financing for microenterprise and SMEs includes both long-term loans and equity financing totalling more than EUR 55 million. This will support an expected EUR 230 million of investment by partners in West and East Africa.

Supporting vulnerable communities in Africa

New cooperation with West African partners will benefit people in the most vulnerable communities in the region.

A joint financing initiative managed in Ghana and the Côte d’Ivoire by Oasis Capital Ghana will help to support small and medium-sized enterprises in a range of sectors, including health and education, and create jobs for low income populations in the two countries.

A new lending programme targeting agricultural communities, in partnership with ADVANS Côte d’Ivoire, will provide technical support and new microfinance financing for smallholders across the country. This will include support to address specific challenges faced by cocoa producers.

The EIB will also support private equity investment across Ethiopia though the new USD 100 million Cepheus Growth Capital Fund that will increase financing for companies all over Ethiopia involved in manufacturing, consumer goods, agriculture and agro-processing and strengthen employment opportunities for displaced people. This represents the EIB’s first backing for an Ethiopia-focused fund and one of the several engagements with a single-country private equity fund in Africa by Europe’s long-term lending institution.

Strengthening financial inclusion in Africa

The EIB also confirmed backing for the MBirr mobile banking platform that will help to enhance financial inclusion in Ethiopia, including facilitating the ability for financial institutions to reach their customers in remote regions and assisting with the electronic delivery of social payments to vulnerable communities including farmers threatened by drought.

New cooperation with microfinance partners in Senegal and Mali will strengthen financing for entrepreneurs and microenterprises in the region and unlock additional support from international and local investors. These are the first loans under the West Africa Microfinance Facility – namely EUR 4 million for MicroCred Senegal and EUR 4 million for MicroCred Mali. They are financed under the Investment Facility, managed by the European Investment Bank.

Ensuring African entrepreneurs can develop 21st century companies

In addition, in Abidjan the EIB signed a new commitment of EUR 10m in Partech Africa, a new initiative expected to unlock a total of EUR 100m of new financing for innovative and technology-focused start-ups across Africa. This will include backing young entrepreneurs developing innovative business models at early stage, in sectors such as fintech, consumer online services, mobility, enterprises services, health-tech and online service providers , active in both English-speaking and Francophone Africa.

Overcoming trade finance challenges

The EIB’s first, landmark agreement with the African Export Import Bank (Afreximbank), will involve a seven-year finance facility for EUR 100 million. The loan will finance trade-related long-term eligible investments and projects in Sub-Saharan Africa. The eligible investments will be directly financed by the borrower or, in the case of loans for SMEs, indirectly through local commercial banks in relationship with Afreximbank.

Connecting people in Senegal’s poorest region

The Programme signed by the European Commission and EIB in Abijdan this week concerns the upgrading and modernisation of the electricity transmission and distribution network in Senegal. It involves connecting several currently isolated networks as well as rural electrification in the Casamance region, one of the poorest in the country facing a particular migration challenge. The Programme is part of the PNUER (Programme National d’Urgence d’Electrification Rurale) programme developed by the Government of Senegal and the PASE (Projet d’Appui au Secteur de l’Electricité) project financed by the World Bank.

This part of the programme is thanks to a EUR 12.8 million EU grant via the AfIF (African Investment Facility) blending facility of the EDF (European Development Fund).The EU has identified rural electrification as an essential factor to foster agricultural development and food security, The operation thus supports EU priorities for the country and contributes to improving quality of life and reducing poverty in Senegal. The electrification of Casamance through the Programme also complements another project financed by the EIB to bring through an electricity interconnection, energy to Senegal from the Republic of Guinea’s hydropower plant of Kaleta.

Providing drinking water and modernising supply for thousands in Côte d’Ivoire

This project will support the government of the Côte d’Ivoire in its efforts to improve access to drinking water, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. (SDGs). At the same time it will have a major public health impact benefitting 700.000 people with 300.000 others connected for the first time to the modernised network.

Supporting the Venture Capital Market and SMEs in Europe’s Southern Neighbourhood

Maghreb Private Equity Fund IV is managed by AfricInvest. The EIB investment is contributing to the development of the North African private equity industry that was severely affected by the uncertainty that followed the events of 2010-2011. The project falls under the Risk Capital Facility for the Southern Neighbourhood countries, financed by the Bank and the European Union.


Background

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It is the world’s largest international public bank. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals. The EIB has been active as an investment bank in Africa since 1963 with around EUR 25 billion invested in more than 1300 private and public sector projects – all in the delivery of the EU’s policy goals. Over the last five years the EIB has provided more than EUR 11.4 billion for new infrastructure and private sector investment across Africa.