In the framework of the Strategic Partnership signed on 3 May 2004 between the European Commission, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the World Bank concerning their action in support of the economic and social development of the European Union's partner countries in the Mediterranean region, the EIB and the World Bank have decided to step up their cooperation in the field of the knowledge economy.
This extended cooperation is taking the form of a programme of activities mounted jointly by the EIB and the World Bank Institute (WBI) in 2005-2006 and concerns training and knowledge-sharing in the areas of innovation, new technologies and urban development. It is designed to support the creation of an environment that is conducive to private investment in the Mediterranean Partner Countries, a common objective of the two institutions and one of the priorities of the Barcelona Partnership linking the European Union and its partner countries in the Mediterranean region.
Three types of activity are being considered:
- EIB participation in training programmes for the beneficiary countries' economic operators and administrations, implemented by the WBI from its knowledge hub in Marseille, in the fields of urban development and new technologies. The aim of this participation is to enrich these seminars by inputting the EIB's experience in these areas alongside that acquired by the World Bank's teams;
- Cooperation in the field of technical assistance for the development of urban strategies and application of innovative technologies fostering economic activity in the region. The goal of such cooperation is to improve the targeting of the two institutions' efforts in order to enhance the synergy of their technical assistance and investment financing activities;
- Exchanges of knowledge between the two institutions' operational teams with regard to bolstering local banking and financial sectors and fostering the development of microfinance.
The EIB, via its dedicated instrument FEMIP (the Facility for Euro-Mediterranean Investment and Partnership), and the World Bank are the two main sources of bank finance for the development of the countries on the southern and eastern edges of the Mediterranean rim. Deploying mutually complementary financial products, the two institutions are natural partners in promoting the development of the countries benefiting from their activities.
Created in 2002 in response to the conclusions of the Barcelona European Council, FEMIP made available EUR 2.2 billion in 2004 in the form of long-term loans, risk capital finance, derivatives and technical assistance.
In 2004, the World Bank Group provided finance totalling USD 1.2 billion in the same countries. In addition, via the WBI, it conducts more than a thousand training activities a year throughout the world on development-related themes.