Private sector investment across Africa, essential to tackle the impact of COVID and unlock sustainable growth, will be accelerated by new financing totalling EUR 62 million confirmed by EIB Global, the new specialised arm of the European Investment Bank earlier today. The announcements come ahead of the first physical Africa-Europe summit since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The six new partnerships will support targeted private sector investment including high-tech innovation, rural microfinance and business financing from Cameroun to Malawi.
Werner Hoyer, The President of the European Investment Bank, the world’s largest international public bank, highlighted the crucial need to scale up cooperation, as part of Team Europe, between African financial institutions and international partners to ensure that Africa’s private sector can drive economic and social growth. Speaking ahead of his participation in the EU-AU Summit in Brussels, he said:
“Ensuring that African startups, entrepreneurs, smallholders and businesses can harness new opportunities, create jobs and expand is essential for Africa, Europe and the world. Over the last six decades the EIB has worked with financial partners across the continent to back Africa’s private sector. Today, as EIB Global, we are unveiling innovative high impact cooperation that will back businesses across the continent, strengthening economic resilience to the impact of COVID-19, and building a better future. The EU-Africa Business Forum ensures that the impact of scaling up sustainable private sector investment across Africa is recognised ahead of the EU-African Union summit.”
Speaking at the EU Africa Business Forum, Thomas Östros, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB): “I am very proud to announce 6 new agreements in the private sector. These deals are a result of this new Team Europe spirit of cooperation to make every development cent count. As the EU bank, we are committed to supporting entrepreneurs and companies of all sizes across the continent of Africa” He added: “Partnership is at the heart of our work and even more so since we launched EIB Global, our new specialised arm dedicated to increasing the impact of international partnerships and development finance. Our investments aims to benefit all parts of society: big cities, small villages, vulnerable regions, entrepreneurs, and of course women and girls.”
Accelerating investment in African tech startups
EIB Global is supporting two of Africa’s leading technology investors, Atlantica Ventures and Janngo, through the Boost Africa initiative. This is a joint initiative with the African Development Bank (AfDB), with financial support from the European Commission and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States Secretariat (OACPS) under the 11th European Development Fund (EDF).
The EUR 12.5 million financing for Atlantica will support EUR 50 million of new investment in innovative technology start-up companies across the continent and expand specialist venture capital financing for promising entrepreneurs.
The new EUR 10 million EIB commitment to Janngo will increase investment in early-stage tech and tech driven start-ups to improve access to healthcare, education and financial services across Africa and allow Africa tech companies to create jobs for young people and women.
Ensuring access to finance in remote and fragile communities
Thousands of African entrepreneurs will benefit from local currency microfinance in rural areas where access to financial services remains limited through new EIB cooperation with the Grameen Credit Agricole Foundation and the European Solidarity Financing for Africa Fund (FEFISOL).
The latest EUR 10 million partnership between the EIB and the Grameen Credit Agricole Foundation will accelerate social inclusion and strengthen economic resilience to the pandemic, and is expected to support more than EUR 36,000 jobs and enable 98,000 new loans to female entrepreneurs in disadvantaged communities across Africa.
The EUR 5 million new financing for FEFISOL will allow smallholder farmers currently excluded from mainstream financing to access microfinance through small rural microfinance institutions and fair-trade certified agricultural cooperatives in 25 African countries.
The new European Solidarity Financing for Africa Fund, FEFISOL 2, builds on the successful support for rural microfinance delivered through the EIB-backed FEFISOL I, over the last decade.
Supporting private sector financing with leading local African banks
Smallholders across Malawi will benefit from EUR 12.5 million EIB backing for long-term agricultural financing in cooperation with First Capital Bank and the European Union.
The new programme, also supported by an EU grant, is the latest in a regional agricultural financing initiative. It will allow farmers in Malawi to modernise equipment and withstand challenges of a changing climate.
A EUR 12 million COVID resilience business financing initiative, also announced today, with the Commercial Bank of Cameroun will support manufacturing, services, agriculture and trading companies across the central African countries impacted by the pandemic by providing long-term financing essential for business expansion.
Investor Caution Prevails as Naira’s Fall Casts Shadow on Nigerian Assets
As Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu attempts to woo investors on foreign shores, a growing shadow looms over the nation’s financial landscape.
The Nigerian naira is in freefall, and this currency crisis is sending ripples of caution through the minds of both local and foreign investors.
The naira’s recent plunge to a historic low, teetering on the brink of the 1000-per-dollar mark on the parallel market, has left many questioning the stability of Nigeria’s economy. Confidence in the country’s currency is eroding at an alarming rate, despite President Tinubu’s exhortations for investors to remain confident in Nigeria’s potential.
The root causes of this crisis are multifaceted. Market experts point to the central bank’s reluctance to supply dollars to the official market as a significant factor. With the central bank seemingly on the sidelines, buyers have been forced to turn to street traders for foreign currency.
This disparity has dramatically widened the gap between the parallel and official exchange rates, undoing progress made after President Tinubu’s inauguration.
Investors are also concerned about the government’s ability to implement and sustain key economic reforms. President Tinubu’s promise to unify the complex exchange rate system and abolish costly fuel subsidies initially sent Nigerian markets soaring.
However, recent events, including the suspension of a planned gasoline price increase and the postponement of an interest rate hike, have raised doubts about the government’s commitment to these reforms.
Also, the delay in confirming the new central bank governor and the resignation of key officials have created a policy-making vacuum, further adding to the uncertainty.
Foreign investors, in particular, are exercising caution, fearful of potential losses due to the falling naira and the inability to repatriate their capital. The government’s outstanding debts to foreign companies and investors add to these concerns.
As the Nigerian economy grapples with these challenges, investors are adopting a wait-and-see approach. They are closely monitoring how President Tinubu’s administration navigates this storm to determine whether Nigeria’s assets can once again shine brightly on the global stage.
EIB Provides €1 Million for Technical Assistance to Ethiopia’s Primary Healthcare System
The European Investment Bank (EIB) has provided the World Health Organization (WHO) with €1 million (approximately BIRR 61 million) for a technical assistance operation that will strengthen primary healthcare system in Ethiopia.
The Ethiopian government plans to accelerate progress towards universal health coverage and to build resilience of its health system through a strong primary healthcare base by 2024.
The technical assistance will be implemented by the World Health Organisation in partnership with the EIB. This will allow the UN health body to leverage local, regional and international expertise and resources for improving primary health care in the country. It will also potentially support the implementation of the Growth and Transformation Plan II of the Government of Ethiopia, which identifies” Envisioning Ethiopia’s Path towards Universal Health Coverage through Strengthening Primary Health Care by 2035″ as one of the key priorities.
The technical assistance provided by the EIB also paves the way for further action by the bank and other institutions to support the health system of Ethiopia. Earlier this year, President of the European Investment Bank Werner Hoyer, joined Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of WHO alongside the European Commission and fellow heads of multilateral development banks to launch a new health impact platform to improve health system resilience with a focus on primary healthcare in Sub-Saharan African countries.
It comes after a pledge from the EIB where President Hoyer said: “The European Investment Bank will make available at least €500 million to support health systems strengthening and more specifically primary health care in Sub-Saharan African countries. This aims to mobilize a total of at least €1 billion of investments, structured through a tri-alliance with the European Commission and WHO, to support the continent’s healthcare.”
This latest support from the EIB is in line with the European Union’s Global Gateway strategy that seeks to strengthen healthcare capacities globally with focus on facilitating investment in health infrastructure and improving the regulatory framework for more effective, local production of medicines as well as application of better technologies.
Leyla Traoré, the Head of the EIB Representative Office in Ethiopia said that access to quality healthcare is very important to a fast-growing economy like Ethiopia’s because it reduces the disease burden and improves health outcomes. This in turn leads to increased productivity and economic growth of the nation.
“As the EIB, we are committed to supporting Ethiopia build and strengthen its resilience in its healthcare industry. Working with WHO and the Federal Government of Ethiopia, we shall use effective financing tools to invest in the areas which they shall identify to benefit from a profound and positive impact,” she added.
Speaking on the EIB-WHO partnership, the Acting Representative of WHO Ethiopia Country Office, Dr. Nonhlanhla Dlamini, emphasized the urgent need to strengthen the primary health care units as first responders for emergency and critical care services and establish referral linkages with other parts of the country’s tiered health system.
“WHO is proud to partner with EIB and Team Europe on this important initiative which will help ensure that all Ethiopians have access to quality health care, regardless of their location or income,” she added.
“The partnership with EIB aims at boosting priority investments in education and employment of health personnel – human capital, infrastructure, water, hygiene, and sanitation and thus effectively leverage WHO’s presence in the country, its technical capabilities, and its advisory role in guiding investments of the EIB in the health sector,” Dr. Faraz Khalid, a research officer with the Strengthening of Primary Health Care programme at WHO and the leader of the mission said.
Anchored on the Health Extension Program – a flagship community-based primary health care delivery platform introduced in 2003, Ethiopia’s primary health care units comprise 17,550 health posts and 3,735 health centres nationwide. By efficiently using these, the second Health Sector Transformation Plan of Ethiopia 2020/2021-2024/25 aims to advance towards universal health coverage.
The primary health care unit is the smallest division in the Ethiopian health tier system and is the unit most accessible to the general population and communities within the health system. It provides essential healthcare services, including preventive, curative, and rehabilitative services. “By serving as the cornerstone of primary healthcare provision, these units have helped millions of people in Ethiopia, especially those in rural communities, achieve equitable access to healthcare,” said Dr. Lia Tadesse, the country’s minister for health.
The EIB Technical Assistance operation will contribute towards achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 of healthy lives and well-being; SDG 10 of reducing inequality; SDG 17 of sustainable development, and to the pillar of the agenda 2030: “Leave No One Behind” ensuring that the population in the country benefits from a resilient health system, including vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics.
The European Investment Bank has been active in Ethiopia since 1984 covering both public and private sectors. Over the years, the Bank has signed 31 operations for an aggregate amount of €490M (approximately BIRR 30 billion) focusing in particular on the financial sector, energy, agriculture and water infrastructure as well as private sector investment. The Bank is represented in Ethiopia through its office in Addis Ababa.
Edo State Thrives: $2.5 Billion in Investments Attracted Since 2017
The Edo State government announced on Friday that it has managed to secure over $2.5 billion in investments for the state’s economy since the year 2017.
Kelvin Uwaibi, who serves as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Edo State Investment Promotion Office (ESIPO), shared this information during a visit to the leadership of the Edo State Council of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) in Benin City.
Uwaibi explained that these substantial funds have been attracted from various sectors such as agriculture, technology, power, and retail.
These investments were the result of collaborative efforts by teams from different Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) led by the State Governor, Godwin Obaseki.
Uwaibi also highlighted ESIPO’s success in drawing a diverse range of investments, which have positively impacted Edo State’s economic landscape.
He explained that ESIPO plays a crucial role in driving Edo State’s economic transformation.
The organization’s mandate extends to creating a business-friendly environment, promoting the growth of micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), and ensuring that there is a conducive regulatory framework for businesses to prosper.
“The Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) reforms, spearheaded by ESIPO, have streamlined bureaucratic processes and enhanced the investment climate.
“The growth of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) has been significantly catalyzed, contributing to local job creation and economic empowerment. ESIPO’s efforts have also cultivated a favourable regulatory environment that nurtures business growth and innovation.
“ESIPO aspires to position Edo State as a preferred investment destination, ripe with opportunities across various sectors. By capitalizing on our strategic locatiEdo State Thrives: $2.5 Billion in Investments Attracted Since 2017on, skilled workforce, and vibrant culture, we aim to attract both domestic and international investors.
“The ultimate goal is to foster sustainable development, create employment opportunities, and enhance the overall qualify of life for Edo’s residents”, he said.
In his comment, Festus Alenkhe, the State Chairman of NUJ, who commended ESIPO for its economic development in the state, however, urged the management to grow the state’s economy by attracting Foreign Direct Investment.
Alenkhe also urged the state government to partner the Federal Government in its policies geared towards reducing poverty and unemployment
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