The European Investment Bank is taking a 25% equity participation in Banque Internationale d'Investissement (BII) in Mauritania. EIB will provide capital alongside Ballouhey S.A., a French commodity trading company that has assumed a prominent position in the country.

BII was established in July 2005 by Ballouhay S.A. A first class international bank, the Dutch ING group, has been mandated to manage BII under a 2-year renewable contract for management services and technical assistance. BII's banking services include trade finance, foreign exchange and payments & cash management services and will be broadened as the client basis grows, into medium and long-term finance to sustain investment projects in the country.

By providing Mauritania with modern banking products, technologies and management, BII is helping to modernise the country's financial sector and contribute to increase efficiency in the economy as a whole. EIB's participation in BII's capital is expected to encourage direct foreign investment in the banking sector. The Board of Directors will comprise 9 members of which 2 appointed by EIB, 5 by BSA, one by ING and one jointly nominated by EIB and BSA. The EIB's participation in BII's capital will contribute to the development of the Mauritanian economy and its integration in the world economy, key objectives of the Cotonou Agreement.

Currently EIB is present in various economic sectors in Mauritania, i.e. the mining sector through SNIM (Société Nationale Industrielle et Minière), in the financial sector with several Global Loan credit lines for SME financing and in the agroindustrial and infrastructure sectors. A previous joint EIB - Ballouhey project is GRANDS MOULINS DE MAURITANIE - a project, that has succesfully created a major wheat mill in Mauritania.

The EIB, established in 1958 by the Treaty of Rome, finances capital investment projects that further the European Union (EU) policy objectives. It also participates in the implementation of the EU's co-operation policy towards third countries that have co-operation or association agreements with the Union.

Financing in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) is carried out under the provisions of the Investment Facility, set up by the ACP-EU Partnership Agreement, signed in Cotonou in June 2000. Under the Cotonou agreement the total financial aid available amounts to EUR 15.2 billion for 2002-2006, of which EUR 11.3 billion is grant aid from the EU member states, EUR 2.2 billion is managed by the EIB under the Investment Facility and up to EUR 1.7 billion is in the form of loans from the EIB's own resources. The Investment Facility is a revolving facility (loan amortizations will be invested in new operations), aiming at supporting technically, environmentally, financially and economically sound projects in the private or the commercially run public sector.

For further information about the EIB's activities, please visit its Web Site at