>@Grégoire Chauvière le Drian/EIB
©Grégoire Chauvière le Drian/EIB

On 30 October 2017, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) announced that they were stepping up their financing of development projects in the French overseas territories.

EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle and AFD’s Director in New Caledonia, Philippe Renault, signed an extension of the existing risk-sharing agreement for the French overseas territories. This agreement comes under the Investment Plan for Europe, commonly known as the Juncker Plan, which aims to get investment back on track in the countries of the European Union.

Aware of the key role potentially to be played by “Juncker” financing operations in the outermost regions, in December 2016 AFD and the EIB signed a EUR 150m framework programme to develop financing in the French overseas territories thanks to the EU guarantee. The first project to be financed in French Guiana – concerning tourist infrastructure and a retirement home – was signed in Cayenne on Friday 27 October on the fringes of the Conference of the Presidents of the Outermost Regions in the presence of the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker.

The EIB financing enables the AFD to take a greater share of the risk in financing projects that are vital for the economic development and competitiveness of the outermost regions as well as the daily lives of those living there. The extension signed today will for the first time enable this facility to be extended to the French overseas territories.

The total amount of financing provided under this programme will be increased by EUR 30m to EUR 180m.

“For the second time in a matter of days the European Investment Bank and the Agence Française de Développement are pleased to announce a joint initiative in support of French overseas territories thanks to the EU and, in particular, the Juncker Plan. The extension signed today in support of French overseas territories is especially important because the EIB's Juncker Plan financing concerns regions that until now did not have access to such funding”, said EIB Vice-President Ambroise FAYOLLE at the signing ceremony.

Philippe RENAULT, Director of AFD’s regional agency in New Caledonia added: “The extension of this initiative to the French overseas territories and especially New Caledonia is great news, particularly given the slowdown in growth and in view of budgetary pressures. It will promote investment by facilitating access to financing. The AFD will implement the facility via EIB guarantees. This agreement illustrates the strong cooperation between the EIB and the AFD, which is based on their respective strengths.”

“The European Commission welcomes this agreement. The conditions of eligibility for the Investment Plan for Europe are now being extended in support of the French overseas territories. This plan offers new and very interesting possibilities of common interest to Europe and the French overseas territories”, stated Tomas MATEO GOYET, the European Commission's representative in Nouméa.

In the outermost regions, in 2017 the EIB Group also provided EUR 25m in Juncker Plan financing to telecoms operator TELCO OI to facilitate access to superfast mobile broadband in Réunion and Mayotte, and signed an innovative partnership with the Réunion Region to strengthen businesses’ access to financing whilst developing their growth and competitiveness.