EIB President highlights new gender and digital investment initiatives to accelerate economic recovery across Africa
18 May 2021
EIB to mobilise €2 billion for women across Africa through SheInvest
Digital Connectivity Initiative to scale up investment and improve access to digital services
Targeted financing key for sustainable COVID-19 recovery highlighted at Paris summit
Initiatives follow record €5 billion EIB engagement in Africa last year
Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank today outlined two new gender financing and digital initiatives to accelerate economic recovery from the COVID-19 across Africa and scale up targeted financial and technical support for high-impact investment.
The strengthened support for gender focused and digital investment were outlined at the Summit on the Financing of African Economies convened in Paris by President Macron and attended by Heads of State and Government from across Africa and Europe.
“Discussions at the Paris summit today show how Africa and Europe are together facing the health, economic and social challenges of COVID-19 and share investment priorities to ensure a sustainable and inclusive recovery. Following last year’s record EUR 5 billion EIB engagement across Africa, driven by our rapid response to the pandemic that enabled African partners to continue to invest, together we can now look ahead to the future. Accelerating innovation across the board and supporting women’s entrepreneurship are is crucial for Africa’s development. EIB teams in Europe and in nine centres across Africa, stand ready to increase financial and technical support to private and public African partners during the recovery.” said Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank.
Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank and Ambroise Fayolle, Vice President responsible for development, attended the summit and discussed investment priorities including COVID-19 recovery, climate action and private sector growth with African and European political leaders and development finance partners.
Mobilising €2 billion of gender-responsive investment in Africa
One year after the launch of the SheInvest initiative in 2019, the EIB reached its initial target to mobilise €1 billion of gender-focused investment that strengthens gender equality and female economic empowerment in Africa. Given the success of SheInvest, the EIB now commits to double its ambition and mobilise €2 billion of investment that will provide women across the continent with better access to finance, as well as with services and products that are better geared towards their needs.
In addition, a Technical Assistance Programme, the African Women Rising Initiative, is providing capacity building and mentoring to women entrepreneurs and supporting intermediaries in designing financial and non-financial services tailored to their needs.
Investment under SheInvest are guided by the 2X Challenge criteria endorsed by the EIB to increase the impact of its financing for gender equality and women economic empowerment in developing countries.
Improving access to innovative financing and sharing best practices from across Africa and around the world is essential to tackle the digital divide in Africa.
Africa’s digital transformation is well underway, generating big changes and benefits for many parts of the economy and society. But out of a total population of 1.3 billion an estimated 900 million people in Africa are not connected to the internet and those who have access, affordability may be low and bandwidth severely limited.
The EIB’s Rural Connectivity Toolkit launched today provides clear guidance to help African countries design financially sound, sustainable and inclusive digital connectivity projects. It aims to improve digital connections in communities that are not or poorly being served by the market.
Through this initiative, the EIB seeks to address risks holding back private sector telecommunications investment, provide long-term financing to increase digital connectivity and share technical best-practice with telecom companies and governments planning public digital investment and use innovative financing to encourage telecom operators to provide affordable services in rural regions.
One year after the launch of its SheInvest initiative at the end of 2019, the European Investment Bank (EIB) reached its initial target to mobilise a total of €1 billion in gender-lensinvestment that is set to boost gender equality and female economic empowerment across Africa. Given the success of its initiative, the EIB now commits to double its ambition and mobilise €2 billion of gender-responsive investment across the continent.
In 2020 the European Investment Bank provided EUR 5 billion for new private and public investment across Africa. This represented the largest annual EIB engagement in 55 years of operations on the continent and the largest support for climate action and investment in fragile states.