>@Anne-Cécile Auguin/EIB

On the occasion of the Conference of the Outermost Regions, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) signed the first finance contract for a project in a French overseas territory to benefit from an EIB guarantee under the Juncker Plan. Promoted by Le Toucan 973 (a civil property company – SCI), the project benefiting from the loan and the EIB guarantee aims to meet the accommodation and care needs of older people in French Guiana, via the construction of an innovative, inter-generational complex including a senior services residence, a hotel and related services.

The signing ceremony took place in Cayenne and was attended by Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, Corina Crețu, European Commissioner for Regional Policy, Ambroise Fayolle, Vice-President of the EIB, Rodolphe Alexandre, President of the Regional Council of French Guiana, Laurent Fakhoury, Head of the AFD in French Guiana, and Marjorie Avenire, the project promoter.

European Commissioner for Regional Policy Corina Crețu said: “I am happy to sign this project together with President Juncker on the occasion of the Conference of the Presidents of the Outermost Regions here in French Guiana. The social dimension lies at the heart of the Investment Plan; these small-scale projects have a major impact of people's lives. This project will create jobs but, above all, will create a social connection within the region. As part of our new strategy for the outermost regions, we are working with the EIB on a dedicated initiative to give these regions easier access to EU funds for strategic investments.”

“I am delighted to sign this first project under our new partnership with Agence Française de Développement in the French overseas territories. Our aim is to accelerate the financing of projects to benefit people living in the French overseas territories, such as here in French Guiana,” said Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle during the signing ceremony. Via a new risk-sharing initiative with the AFD under the “Juncker Plan”, the EU bank is supporting project promoters at the furthest reaches of the EU. The Juncker Plan is continuing to gain momentum in the French regions, with 99 operations approved so far for a total financing amount of EUR 7.5bn.”

I am pleased that this signature is taking place, as it represents the first EIB operation in French Guiana, demonstrates the strength and relevance of cooperation between public and semi-public bodies, and EU funds (the EIB and AFD) to support a private development project, and enables a qualitative response to the challenge of caring for older people,” said President Rodolphe Alexandre. “This project is part of the Regional Council of French Guiana's strategy to improve the way we handle ageing and the integration of our elders onto society.”

This project concerns issues that are important for the future, such as the support of older people,” said Laurent Fakhoury during the signing ceremony. “French Guiana is often viewed in connection with its strong demographic expansion and its young population, potentially hiding the fact that the number of older people is expected to triple by 2030.” “This is an innovative project aiming to bring together a senior services residence (84 adapted homes) and a three-star hotel (40 rooms) on a single site. The financing was made possible thanks to EU subsidies received via the Regional Council of French Guiana, the support of financial partners and the risk-sharing of the EIB. It is also the first AFD loan to a private company in the healthcare and medical and social care sector and the first AFD financing for senior accommodation. The project shows the AFD's willingness to support innovative, forward-looking projects, particularly in the private sector.”

This flagship financing marks the first time the EIB has issued a guarantee under the Investment Plan for Europe to the AFD in the French overseas territories. Standing at EUR 4.8m, this AFD financing will make it possible to build an inter-generational complex with the Department's first senior residence available to low-income individuals as well as the first hotel residence, together with the associated services, in the municipality of Macouria.

This financing therefore provides a concrete response to the accommodation, care and support needs of older people in French Guiana with a full range of high quality services available to low-income individuals. In addition, this project will make it possible to create around 20 jobs on opening.

This financing is part of the Investment Plan for Europe – commonly known as the “Juncker Plan” – which aims to relaunch investment in the EU and is implemented by the EIB.

As they are fully aware of the key role played by “Juncker” financing in the outermost regions, in December 2016 the AFD and EIB signed an agreement to develop this kind of financing in the French overseas territories. The EU guarantee will therefore enable the AFD to take a higher share of the risk in financing projects that are important for the economic development and competitiveness of these Departments as well as the daily lives of those living there.