• Zambian SME Minister of Small and Medium Enterprises Elias Mubanga MP, European Investment Bank Vice President Thomas Östros and EU Ambassador-Designate open gathering
  • Financial institutions strengthen cooperation to back business investment
  • 7th regional banking academy to strengthen targeted financing for agriculture, climate action, female empowerment and youth

 More than 100 banking leaders from across Southern Africa and around the world are meeting in Lusaka this week to share best practice and strengthen high impact private sector financing across the region.

Elias Mubanga MP, Zambian Minister of Small and Medium Enterprise Development, Thomas Östros, European Investment Bank (EIB) Vice President and Karolina Stasiak, Ambassador-Designate of the European Union (EU) to Zambia and the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA), formally opened the 7th European Investment Bank SME Banking and Microfinance Academy.

"We extend a warm welcome to all the banking leaders convened in Lusaka this week. Zambia deeply appreciates the European Investment Bank's longstanding support for unlocking high impact financing that is transforming our agriculture sector and enabling Zambian business to grow. By coming together, Zambian, African and international partners can better explore innovative approaches to strengthen private sector financing and drive economic growth during challenging times." said Elias Mubanga MP, Minister of Small and Medium Enterprise Development of the Republic of Zambia.

"The 7th European Investment Bank Southern Africa SME Banking and Microfinance Academy taking place here in Lusaka this week demonstrates the crucial importance of ensuring that financial partners listen and learn from each other to better tackle investment gaps holding back private sector investment and job creation. By collaborating and learning from one another, leading banks and financial institutions from across Southern Africa and international partners can together drive private sector financing and foster economic growth. This academy reaffirms the European Investment Bank’s firm commitment to backing Africa’s private sector, in partnership with leading local banks, Team Europe and the European Union through technical cooperation, financial innovation and financial engagement." said Thomas Östros, European Investment Bank Vice President.

"The close cooperation between Europe and Zambia has played a pivotal role in supporting private sector growth and sustainable development. The academy is a symbol of our shared dedication to unlocking opportunities and propelling progress.” said Karolina Stasiak, Ambassador-designate of the European Union to Zambia and COMESA. She further underlined that “in times of global challenges, such as climate change, which threaten the future of humankind, we just cannot look anymore at shareholder value and profit maximization only. Instead, we need to generate shared profit for the Planet, the People and their Prosperity, leaving no one behind. This is about Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) frameworks and about your Corporate and Social Responsibility (CSR)."

The Banking Academy offered an excellent opportunity for EIB to launch the “EIB Finance in Africa Report”, accessible through this link.

Over recent years the EIB SME Banking Academies, held in Southern, West and East Africa, have strengthened financial, technical and banking skills of more than 40,000 African financial professionals.

The Southern Africa SME Banking and Microfinance Academy is being held jointly with the Trade and Development Bank and impact financing experts from the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management.

Strengthening high-impact business investment, climate action and financial inclusion

Over four days the Academy will enable successful private sector financing strategies and insights into backing climate investment, strengthening financial inclusion, deploying targeted financing for female empowerment and to enhance opportunities for young people to be shared.

Experts from leading regional financial institutions as well as the EIB, IMF and OECD will also discuss how to overcome challenges hindering trade finance and embrace digitalization to better serve private sector customers.

EIB Finance in Africa report to be launched in Lusaka

Challenges and opportunities facing Africa’s banking sector will also be examined following the unveiling of the 2023 EIB Finance in Africa report.

The European Investment Bank is the world’s largest international public bank and over the last decade the EIB has provided more than EUR 32 billion for private and public investment across Africa.

Zambia is the EIB's largest country of operation in southern Africa and over the past five decades, the EIB has provided more than EUR 1.2 billion for priority business, water, energy, and transport investment across the country.

Background information

EIB Global is the EIB Group’s specialised arm dedicated to increasing the impact of international partnerships and development finance.  EIB Global is designed to foster strong, focused partnership within Team Europe, alongside fellow development finance institutions, and civil society. EIB Global brings the Group closer to local people, companies and institutions through our offices across the world

About the European Union (EU)

The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 European countries. It is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities. It acts globally to promote sustainable development of societies, environment and economies, so that everyone can benefit.

About Global Gateway

Global Gateway is the European strategy to boost smart, clean and secure links in digital, energy and transport sectors, and to strengthen health, education and research systems across the world. Through a 'Team Europe approach', Global Gateway brings together the EU, its Member States and their financial and development institutions to mobilise the private sector to leverage investments for a transformational impact. It aims to mobilise up to €300 billion in investments. Global Gateway is fully aligned with the UN’s Agenda 2030 and its Sustainable Development Goals, as well as the Paris Agreement.