AfDB, EIB Seal Deal to Enhance Africa’s Development

By Obinna Chima

The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) yesterday signed a joint partnership action plan on how to boost public and private sector investment in Africa.

The joint action plan enables both institutions to grow a shared pipeline of bankable projects around key complementary themes to which each institution would bring their comparative advantage.

According to a statement, the focus of the partnership are: climate action and environmental sustainability; transformative large-scale quality infrastructure investment; Information and Communication Technology (ICT) infrastructure and services; financial inclusion with a gender lens aimed at the empowerment of girls and women; education and training; and the health sector.

The signing comes amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic which is increasing poverty across the African continent and threatening markets and livelihoods, heightened the urgency for action, the statement added.

The agreement was signed by AfDB’s Acting Senior Vice President, Bajabulile Swazi Tshabalala, and EIB’s Vice President, Thomas Östros, during a virtual ceremony attended by stakeholders from across Africa and Europe.

The session was preceded by a short roundtable between the two senior management members and representatives from both institutions.

“It is crucial that more multinational development banks and other development finance institutions commit to closer and stronger collaboration, such as seen through this Joint Action Plan between the AfDB and the EIB, in order to more efficiently and effectively support our regional member countries during these troubling times,” said Tshabalala.

“Sustainable economic growth and security in regions facing particular challenges, such as the Sahel and Horn of Africa, are our top priority.”

“Partnerships are crucial for the EIB’s business and impact, and this partnership with Africa’s Bank is crucial for Africa. The Action Plan signed with the African Development Bank today demonstrates the firm commitment of the European Investment Bank, the EU Bank, to delivering investment that makes a real difference to Africa.

“Enhancing our work with the African Development Bank, Africa’s multilateral development bank, is a strategic priority for the EIB and Europe. Together the EIB and AfDB will enhance cooperation and engagement with African partners to ensure that Africa emerges from the health, social and economic challenges of COVID-19 to an even brighter 21st Century,” Östros said.

The Joint Action Plan was developed following an EIB delegation meeting with the African Development Bank in February 2020.

The plan reflects the Bank’s High 5 development priority areas as well as EIB’s priority areas for Africa.

According to the statement, in the wake of COVID-19 both institutions had devoted financing for rapid response to meet budgetary and health needs of countries in the region.

“Over the past five years, the shared portfolio of the two institutions has grown to €3.4 billion, leveraging investment totaling €10.2 billion for 26 projects across the continent. The EIB and African Development Bank recognise the unique role of publicly owned development banks in supporting high-impact and pioneering investment and mobilising private sector financing.

“Recent cooperation to increase venture capital financing for innovation and technology companies through the Boost Africa initiative and commitment to the Desert to Power programme highlights how public banks accelerate financing in priority policy areas,” the statement added.

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