AfDB, Euro Investment Bank Sign Partnership To Fast-track African Devt

The African Development Bank (AfDB) and the European Investment Bank (EIB), on Wednesday, January 20, 2020, signed a joint partnership action plan on ways to strengthen cooperation and mutual development priorities, in addition to a strong shared emphasis on boosting public and private sector investment in Africa.

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

These themes 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, the statement continued, comes amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic which is increasing poverty across the African continent and threatening markets and livelihoods, heightening the urgency for action.

The agreement signed by African Development Bank’s Acting Senior Vice President Bajabulile Swazi Tshabalala, and Thomas Östros, European Investment Bank Vice President during a virtual ceremony, had over 100 stakeholders in attendance from across both continents. The session was preceded by a short roundtable between the two senior management members and representatives from both institutions.

The statement quoted Tshabalala as stressing how crucial it is “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.

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

For Östros, “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,” he further added.

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

Shared priorities for supporting transformation, AfDB said, reflects its “High 5” development priority areas as well as EIB’s priority areas for Africa. In the wake of COVID-19 both institutions have devoted financing for rapid response to meet budgetary and health needs of countries in the region.

Building on track record of joint financial and technical support across Africa

Over the past five years, the shared portfolio of both institutions, the statement noted, has grown to EUR 3.4bn, leveraging investment totaling EUR 10.2bn for 26 projects across the continent.

The EIB and AfDB 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.

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