The European Investment Bank (EIB) has appointed Kurt Simonsen as its new head of the east and central Africa regional representation, based in Nairobi. Mr Simonsen took up his duties locally on 1 July 2009.

The east and central African representation promotes the EIB’s mission to encourage economic development across the 17 countries of operation in the region. The impact of the economic and financial crisis on sub-Saharan Africa has underlined the importance of the Bank’s presence locally. In his role as the head of the Nairobi regional representation, Mr Simonsen will be called upon to liaise closely with business communities and governments to ensure that EIB finance meets their needs in the current climate.

The Bank's lending strategy in Africa has been tailored to ensure continued investment in projects of strategic importance, with a focus on infrastructure and financial sector operations, particularly in support of private sector SMEs. Mr Simonsen’s 14 year career at the EIB leaves him perfectly positioned to carry out this mission. He has been the technical advisor for the power sector, making regular visits to the region to prepare, appraise and supervise electricity projects. Mr Simonsen also draws on experience as a rural electrification engineer for the Kenya Power & Lighting Company in the late 1980s. Given the EIB’s reinforced support for the power sector, especially for renewable energy, this experience is particularly significant across the whole region. Mr Simonsen will also engage closely in the development of other types of infrastructure, including the telecommunications, transport and water supply sectors.

Mr Simonsen replaces Mr Carmelo Cocuzza who has headed the Nairobi office since its opening in 2005.

Notes to Editor:

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is instrumental in implementing the EU's development and economic cooperation policy in countries outside the Union. The EIB has been a development partner in many African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries since 1963 through a series of lending mandates from the European Council. EIB loans in the ACP regions support the alleviation of poverty and the development of sustainable economic growth.

The EIB’s Nairobi office covers 17 different countries in east and central Africa, from Chad and Sudan in the north, to Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo in the south, and from Kenya at the Indian Ocean to Cameroon on the Atlantic side. The regional representation participates in the identification and screening of investment projects and assists the EIB’s head office in Luxembourg with monitoring of ongoing projects. The Nairobi office celebrated its fourth anniversary in May 2009.