>@Cyrille Lachèvre/EIB

At the Congress of the French Regions, held in Bordeaux on 30 September and 1 October 2019, the Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB) Ambroise Fayolle and the President of the Guadeloupe Regional Council Ary Chalus signed an agreement paving the way for a EUR 90 million loan to finance the development of teaching facilities in the region.

This financing operation will focus on six projects comprising the construction, refurbishment and extension of a public general high school (Baimbridge High School), a vocational high school with dormitories, two gymnasiums (attached to these high schools), a “boarding school of success” and a regional vocational training centre for the Guadeloupe region. The total amount of the investment is estimated at EUR 180 million, to which the bank of the European Union is expected to contribute 50% in the form of a long-term loan.

In addition to supporting the development of education in the region, this project has a strong climate action component, as it will improve seismic risk management and strengthen the hurricane resistance of buildings while significantly increasing accessibility for people with disabilities.

This agreement marks a new milestone in relations between the EIB and the Guadeloupe Region, following the financing in 2018 of the expansion of Pointe-à-Pitre airport (to the tune of EUR 60 million) and the granting of a EUR 30 million credit line to Crédit Agricole's regional banks to finance small businesses and mid-caps affected by hurricanes Irma and Maria which ravaged the West Indies at the end of 2017.

“When I came to Guadeloupe at the end of 2018 to sign the loans to the airport company and Crédit Agricole's regional banks, I said that Europe was back in the region to stay,” said EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle. “This new agreement in the field of education demonstrates that the EIB intends to remain a major partner in Guadeloupe's economic development.”

“The strength of a society lies in its ability to help its people, especially its youth, to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, to build their own future,” said Ary Chalus. “This is why the Guadeloupe Region has made it a point of honour to promote access to learning for all, in an effective and secure environment. That is precisely the purpose of the projects launched, starting with the rebuilding of the Baimbridge high school complex.”