The EIB’s Economic Resilience Initiative
Following a call from the European Council, the European Investment Bank is rolling-out the Economic Resilience Initiative. The initiative aims at rapidly mobilising additional financing in support of the capacity of economies in the Southern Neighbourhood and Western Balkans regions to absorb and respond to crises and shocks, such as the Syrian refugee crisis, while maintaining strong growth. Boosting economic resilience in these regions by investing in vital infrastructure, developing the private sector and stimulating growth and job creation also contributes to addressing root causes of migration.
The EU, working together
The Economic Resilience Initiative forms part of the joined up EU response to the challenges posed by forced displacement and migration, and will be implemented in close cooperation with EU member states, the European Commission and other partners.
Croatia, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia have become the first EU Member States to pledge contributions for the Economic Resilience Initiative.
To make this initiative a reality, the EIB is building on over three decades of experience supporting investment projects in the region. Given the urgency and importance for the EU, the EIB has moved ahead and already started stepping up its support to the two regions as part of its own commitment to the Economic Resilience Initiative.
What is the geographical scope of the Economic Resilience Initiative?
Examples of EIB-supported projects that are already making a difference for the people in the Southern Neighbourhood and Western Balkans:
Jordan, Israel and Palestine are some of the world's driest countries and lack sufficient fresh water for their population. Meanwhile, the diversion of much of the water that feeds the Dead Sea has caused the biblical lake to shrink. But Zoubi is project director of an ambitious venture now gathering momentum that aims to use the waters of the Red Sea to alleviate the shortage across the region and to revitalize the Dead Sea.
For 20 years, the Microfund for Women has provided financing to women across Jordan and helped boost their confidence to engage in business. The first EIB microfinance operation in Jordan, underpinned by EU funding, is helping low-income entrepreneurs with small loans and technical assistance.
Combining EIB expertise, venture capital and EU grants, Silicon Badia provides expertise and capital to empower young and female entrepreneurs in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean region. Amina Al Ramadna is one of them. "When you go to a normal bank they ask for approval from your husband. Here, they looked at the business as a whole,” she explains.
Syrian refugee children in Lebanon study a Cloud-based version of the Lebanese curriculum on $60-tablets. An online education company financed by the EIB is making it happen. Investments like this help Syrian children, whose lives have been disrupted by war, to catch up with some of the studies they may have missed—and also support innovation and job-creating new companies.
A EUR 200 million EIB loan is helping modernise four major clinical centres in Belgrade, Novi Sad, Nis and Kragujevac. The project includes the design, construction, equipping and implementation of new buildings as well as the rehabilitation of existing facilities. Once completed, the upgraded clinical centres will provide high quality healthcare services to the local population. In 2003, the EIB also supported emergency modernisations in other 20 regional hospitals across the country.
"When people can look forward to a dignified and peaceful life in their own countries and are protected from conflicts and natural disasters, they have every incentive to build their future where they really feel at home."
Werner Hoyer, EIB President.
At a special conference at the European Parliament in Brussels on 21 June 2017, EIB Vice-President Dario Scannapieco laid out the actions that the EU bank is taking to help manage migration to Europe and to tackle its root causes in Europe’s neighbourhood and beyond.
Speaking at the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants in October 2016, EIB President Werner Hoyer called for new partnerships to tackle the challenges posed by migration and forced displacement and laid out the EIB’s Economic Resilience Initiative.
** The EIB will start operating in Libya once it has signed a Framework Agreement with the country – currently under preparation. Following EU sanctions in November 2011, the EIB suspended all loan disbursements and technical advisory contracts for projects in Syria.