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At a ceremony held in Addis Ababa earlier today the European Investment Bank (EIB), Europe’s long-term lending institution, formally opened the bank’s first permanent representation in Ethiopia. The new office will lead engagement by the EIB, the world’s largest international public bank, both to support long-term infrastructure and private sector investment in Ethiopia and to manage relations with the African Union Commission and other international organisations based in the Ethiopian capital.

“The European Investment Bank has helped to change lives across Africa for more than 50 years. On behalf of my country Ethiopia I am pleased to welcome the EIB to Addis Ababa and wish all those working in the new office the best of success.” said H.E. Ahmed Shide, State Minister of Finance and Economic Development of Ethiopia.

“The European Investment Bank has a strong track record supporting crucial infrastructure investment across Africa and around the world. Our new home in Addis Ababa will help us to support crucial investment in water, energy and other key sectors, as well as backing private sector growth, essential for economic development in Ethiopia. This represents an historic step in strengthened engagement of the European Investment Bank in the country and has only been possible given the firms support of Ethiopian authorities and European Delegation colleagues.” said Pim van Ballekom, European Investment Bank Vice President responsible for sub-Saharan Africa.

“The European Investment Bank is Europe’s bank and the new Addis office will strengthen European support for crucial investment across Ethiopia in the years to come.” said Ambassador Chantal Hebberecht, Head of the European Union Delegation to Ethiopia.

“The new permanent presence of the EIB in Ethiopia will enable the world’s largest multilateral finance institution to directly contribute to European Union discussions with the African Union and other Addis based organisations. The new office will allow the  EIB’s significant infrastructure, climate action and private sector experience to be shared for the benefit of Africa and Africans.” said Ambassador Gary Quince, Head of the European Union Delegation to the African Union.

The official opening was welcomed by H.E. Ahmed Shide, State Minister of Finance and Economic Development of Ethiopia, H.E. Erastus Mwencha, Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission and Ambassador Chantal Hebberecht, Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Ethiopia. Minister and Ambassadors from across Africa and Europe, representatives of other international finance organisations and the business community were also present.

Confirmation of a strengthened presence of the EIB, comes a day after the announcement of EUR 40 million of new support to improve clean water supply in 20 towns across Ethiopia by the bank on the sidelines of the Financing for Development Conference convened to prepared new Sustainable Development Goals.

The EIB also confirmed that Christophe Litt, will head the new office that will be based within the European Union Delegation to Ethiopia. A qualified lawyer Christophe has many years of professional experience managing investment in new hospitals, microfinance and infrastructure projects in both Europe and the Middle East.

The EIB has supported investment in Ethiopia since 1976 and last year the European Investment Bank provided more than EUR 2.5 billion for investment across Africa.