The European Investment Bank (EIB), the European Union's (EU) long-term financing institution, is lending EUR 35 million to the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI), the region's supranational financial institution established in 1960. CABEI will utilise the funds for on-lending in support of private sector investment in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. The loan is a special contribution in the context of the international concerted efforts to palliate the effects of Hurricane Mitch. The EIB's focus will be on emergency reconstruction and expansion of capacity in the private sector, to assist in the recovery of the most affected areas.

The purpose of the EIB is to help finance, by means of medium and long-term loans, the fixed assets necessary for the reconstruction and/or expansion of the private sector ventures in industry, agro-industry and their related services, tourism, private sector infrastructure, energy, telecommunications and environment.

Within a period of three years, CABEI will on-lend directly to its own clients, in USD. CABEI loans will be equivalent to between EUR 1 million and EUR 12.5 million per project or between 10% and 50% of the total cost of qualifying projects. Priority will be given to private sector projects that generate foreign exchange and create quality stable employment.

The loan is provided in the context of the European Union's co-operation policy with third countries that have concluded co-operation agreements. In Asia and Latin America (ALA), the EIB may lend up to ECU 900 million during 1997-99 to support private capital investment projects or, investment that results in environmental improvements or fosters regional integration.

The EIB was set up in 1958 under the Treaty of Rome to provide loan finance for capital investment furthering European Union policy objectives, in particular, regional development, European infrastructure, energy, industry and environment. Outside the Union, the EIB contributes to European development co-operation policy in accordance with the terms and conditions laid down in the various agreements linking the Union to some 130 countries in Central and Eastern Europe, the Mediterranean region, Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, Asia and Latin America.

1 euro : 0.666300 GBP, 166.366 ESP, 7.44415 GTQ, 298.237 CRC, 9.36677 SVC, 14.9943 HNL, 12.2791 NIO, 1.07420 USD.