On May 9th, Kenya’s University of Nairobi hosted Europe Day celebrations, which aim to celebrate peace and unity in Europe. This year’s theme was the ‘European Year of Skills’, which focused on the importance of partnerships between private sectors, governments, and multilateral financial institutions in creating jobs and providing the youth with the necessary skills for quality employment.
One of the main highlights of the event was the European Investment Bank (EIB)’s role in the future of Europe-Africa relations. The EIB is the world’s largest multilateral financial institution operating in over 160 countries, including Eastern Africa. The bank’s investments aim to catalyze transformative action in various sectors, addressing imbalances and promoting stable economies.
Recently, Team Europe launched the Global Gateway Africa-Europe Investment Plan to support Africa’s recovery and transformation through the green and digital transition, sustainable growth, and job creation, while strengthening health systems and improving education and training. The Investment Package is being delivered through Team Europe co-operation, meaning the EU, its Member States, and European financial institutions, such as the EIB, are working together to support transformational projects identified jointly with African partners in priority areas.
The EIB has been operating in Africa since 1965, investing €59 billion in 52 African countries, supporting infrastructure projects, innovative firms, renewable energy schemes, the public sector, and private companies, from microenterprises to the largest multinationals. In 2022 alone, the EIB provided more than EUR 4.1 billion for private and public investment across Africa. The bank is a key part of the EU toolbox that has helped make the partnership between these two continents stronger.
To ensure that projects get off the ground faster and succeed over the long term, the EIB has been creating new regional hubs to influence through proximity by disbursing financing quicker and in local currencies. The first regional hub was opened in Nairobi, Kenya, by EIB President Dr. Werner Hoyer in 2005. The Nairobi Regional Hub serves the region’s 11 countries, including Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Eritrea, Djibouti, and Somalia.
With the EU being Kenya’s largest trading partner, recent EU-Kenya and EU-Tanzania business forums headlined by EIB Vice President Thomas Ostros aimed to deepen ties between the partner countries by exploring opportunities for trade and investment.
Over the last ten years, the EIB has provided over EUR 32 billion for green energy, water, urban, education, agriculture, telecom, health, and business investment in 40 countries across the continent. Additionally, over 71% of EIB financing in Sub-Saharan Africa has gone into supporting least developed or fragile states.
Between 2021 and 2027, the institutions of the European Union member states will mobilize investments worth up to 300 billion EUR to support the investment needs of partner countries, fostering sustainable and high-impact projects. This will also create opportunities for trade and investment for both the EU member states and African countries.