EIB and Afreximbank direct EUR 300m of support to African COVID response
5 August 2020
Accelerated EIB financing under Team Europe initiative
Over 25% of funds dedicated to women in business and climate action
Pan-African rapid response to alleviate COVID-19 impact and support climate action
Scheme to support trade and ensure medical supplies continue
The European Investment Bank (EIB), the lending arm of the European Union, and the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), Africa’s foremost multilateral trade finance institution, are directing EUR 300m of financing to support the resilience and recovery of African nations in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds will ensure businesses across the continent have the working capital to sustain jobs and maintain vital imports. It also earmarks at least a quarter of the capital for climate change mitigation and adaptation, helping Africa maximize the opportunities of a green recovery.
The support package is the first accelerated COVID-19 response for the entire sub-Saharan region under the EIB’s Team Europe initiative—a EUR 6.7bn package to help the most vulnerable and exposed countries respond to the immediate health crisis, mitigate social and economic impacts, and build resilience for the future.
The support for sub-Saharan Africa delivered with Afreximbank is structured in two parts. The package redeploys EUR 200m of funds previously allocated to trade-related investments, directing them specifically to sectors most impacted by the pandemic. Recognising the pressing need for support, Afreximbank and the EIB are also injecting a further EUR 100m to the package. This combination of existing and new funds, in addition to Afreximbank’s position on the ground, means support can be activated immediately – a degree of agility that would not have been possible under a new agreement. Furthermore, Afreximbank’s deep knowledge and broad presence across African markets will ensure capital reaches businesses and communities in all areas of the continent.
The COVID-19 pandemic is inflicting an unprecedented negative impact on African economies, just as it has on nations around the globe. Manufacturing has been impacted by disruptions in global supply chains. Meanwhile, migrant remittances to some of the poorest economies in the world have dwindled, exposing the most vulnerable in those markets to exacerbated difficulties. As a result, many African economies are suffering serious vulnerabilities including liquidity pressure, trade payment defaults risk and fiscal challenges, alongside cuts to FDI, long term financing and portfolio flows.
A portion of the Afreximbank and EIB support package will be targeted at enabling cross-border trade in medical supplies and equipment essential for slowing the spread of COVID-19. In addition, the support package will provide financing to long-term investments in trade expansion, helping both the availability of goods and growth in economic prosperity. The package will support participating Member States of Afreximbank, 46 of which a part of the Contonou Agreement in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Two key focus areas in Africa are on women in business and the Green Revolution. As a result, a portion of the package will target businesses owned or managed by women. In addition, at least 25% of the funds allocated under the partnership will be earmarked for green projects, such as renewable power, energy efficiency and climate change adaptation measures. Afreximbank is currently appraising renewable energy projects in excess of circa EUR 100 million for which the EBI facility will support. In addition, part of the funds will support the re-purposing of factories to manufacture PPE and other COVID-19 materials, through the African Medical Supplies Platform, a digital platform promoted by Africa CDC, Afreximbank, UNECA and Au Envoy, Mr. Strive Masiyiwa.
Prof. Benedict Oramah, President of Afreximbank, said: “As continental neighbours, Europe and Africa must stand together against the global pandemic. The funding announced today is welcome not only because it answers an urgent need, but because it is deployed with urgency.
With the joint experience of Afreximbank and the EIB, the support will rapidly reach those most affected and be carefully designed to have the greatest effect on the post-pandemic recovery. What’s more, the package’s support for green projects will help propel Africa towards the sustainable economy of the future and all the opportunities that entails.
I am confident that our work together will not only have a positive impact on African nations but will help us on the path to a closer relationship, based on shared prosperity, values and a commitment to a sustainable future.”
Ambroise Fayolle, European Investment Bank Vice President, said: “Once again the European Investment Bank is strengthening our close cooperation with Afreximbank to unlock high-impact investment by companies across Africa. A total amount of EUR 300m has been made available as a direct result of the EIB’s fast-track support and global response as part of Team Europe.
Reflecting the scale of the global impact of COVID-19, the EIB Board has agreed to scale up financing with existing partners to rapidly deliver an immediate response. Together with Afreximbank this new financing will both unlock medical investment and ensure that climate action investment to cut energy use and emissions is not delayed.”
Under a 2018 agreement, the EIB and Afreximbank have already deployed some of the previously allocated EUR 200m to projects now supporting the resilience of African nations during the pandemic. These have included programmes to expand intra-African trade and export manufacturing in sectors with high employment rates. The two organisations will continue to focus on this proven approach to provide both short-term relief and long-term resilience.
The African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) is a Pan-African multilateral financial institution with the mandate of financing and promoting intra-and extra-African trade. Afreximbank was established in October 1993 and owned by African governments, the African Development Bank and other African multilateral financial institutions as well as African and non-African public and private investors. The Bank was established under two constitutive documents, an Agreement signed by member states, which confers on the Bank the status of an international organization, and a Charter signed by all Shareholders, which governs its corporate structure and operations. Afreximbank deploys innovative structures to deliver financing solutions that are supporting the transformation of the structure of Africa’s trade, accelerating industrialization and intra-regional trade, thereby sustaining economic expansion in Africa. At the end of 2019, the Bank’s total assets and guarantees stood at USD$15.5 billion and its shareholders funds amounted to US$2.8 billion. Voted “African Bank of the Year” in 2019, the Bank disbursed more than US$31billion between 2016 and 2019. Afreximbank has ratings assigned by GCR (international scale) (A-), Moody’s (Baa1) and Fitch (BBB-). The Bank is headquartered in Cairo, Egypt.
With the backing of the European Investment Advisory Hub set up by the European Commission and the European Investment Bank (EIB), Banque des Territoires is launching “S’GREEN+”. This development aid initiative will provide 25 cities participating in the City Centre Action programme with operational support as they roll out their climate change adaptation projects.
Priority investment in high-impact small scale projects across Greece will be accelerated following agreements signed by the Minister of Finance of the Hellenic Republic and Governor of the European Investment Bank, Christos Staikouras, Deputy Minister of Development and Investments of the Hellenic Republic, Yannis Tsakiris, European Investment Bank President, Werner Hoyer and EIB Vice President responsible for Greece, Christian Kettel Thomsen.
The outbreak of COVID-19 in Europe had immediate and wide-ranging consequences for investment: according to the new edition of the EIB Investment Report 2020/2021 “Building a smart and green Europe in the COVID-19 era”, EU firms are likely to reduce investment by at least 25% in the year following the crisis. The report also shows that in a post-pandemic “new normal”, investment in digitalisation, innovation and climate will be more important than ever before. Without such investment, large sections of Europe’s economy risk falling behind. However, the European Union now has the opportunity to build on its leadership in green and digital technologies to recover from the pandemic, manage the climate transition and maintain its ability to compete in the global technology race.