On an official visit to Côte d’Ivoire on Monday 21 November 2016, Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), strongly reaffirmed the key role being played by the EIB in West Africa and throughout the African continent.

The official visit by the President and Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle was firmly focused on the future with the opening of a new regional office in Abidjan and the launch of the Boost Africa initiative which will benefit more than 1 500 start-ups and innovative small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across the African continent. During his visit the President also launched the second edition of Africa Day, bringing together more than 300 business managers and experts in Abidjan to address the crucial topics of youth employment, entrepreneurship and innovation, before visiting some concrete EIB-supported projects in Côte d’Ivoire.

“The EIB has mobilised substantial resources to support Côte d’Ivoire in its policy of recovery and investment, particularly as it faces new economic, social and environmental development challenges such as youth employment and climate change action”, said President Hoyer during his visit. “It is our responsibility to create conditions conducive to investment and innovate using new instruments in order to support sustainable infrastructure and the private sector.”

The EIB President noted that as from 2020 the EIB would dedicate at least 35% of its activities in developing countries to supporting low carbon, climate change-resistant growth. He also pointed out that the Bank was fully committed to implementing the European External Investment Plan (EEIP) designed to promote investment in Africa and in the EU Neighbourhood Countries.

An innovative initiative in support of microenterprises

Convinced that businesses are the drivers of growth and youth employment, President Hoyer together with Akinwumi Adesina, President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), today launched in Abidjan a new initiative supporting microenterprises. With funding of EUR 150 million, Boost Africa is expected to leverage new investment of EUR 1 billion, which will help support more than 1 500 start-ups and innovative SMEs across the African continent.

A new regional office in Abidjan

The EIB's new regional representative office for West Africa brings to nine the number of EIB offices in Africa, of which two are regional offices, so demonstrating the EIB's desire to step up its activity.

This new office in Abidjan illustrates the bigger role being played by the EIB in West Africa and the importance of its cooperation with the African Development Bank, which has returned to Abidjan. It reflects the partnership of confidence between the EIB and Côte d’Ivoire, which will result in increased activity in support of sustainable infrastructure and the private sector.

For the record, at regional level since 2010 the EIB has lent EUR 1.5 billion to 16 countries in West Africa underpinning growth and job creation in key sectors of the economy (energy, water, SMEs and microfinance, sustainable transport).

Projects designed to improve people’s daily lives

The EIB’s President and Vice-President visited one of the agencies of Microcred Côte d’Ivoire (MCI), which has received EIB support via an equity investment of EUR 1.7 million. There they met the management team and spoke to some young recruits and beneficiaries.

The EIB’s President and Vice-President also visited a CI Energies site, which has benefited from the ENERGOS project financed by the Bank to the tune of EUR 118 million. Centred on the rehabilitation and extension of the energy networks in the cities of Bouaké, San Pedro and Abidjan, this large-scale project will help to widen the population's access to the power grid: over 100 000 new customers will be connected whilst more than 200 000 other customers will have their connections improved.