EIB discusses with Team Europe partners how to ensure equitable access to water and health in Africa
16 June 2021
On the eve of the European Development Days 2021, the EIB Permanent Representation to the EU in Brussels organised a discussion with experts on how to reach universal and equitable access to healthcare and water in Africa, notably through Team Europe.
On this occasion, EIB President Werner Hoyer unveiled new publications; the EIB Development Report that tells the full story of our investments outside the EU: on climate, gender, migration and other areas, as well as EIB’s Partnership with Africa paper, a forward-looking statement of our intentions for Africa, which has the delivery of the EU’s Green Deal at its heart.
The event stressed the needs to increase private sector investment in clean water and in the healthcare systems in Africa, not only to counter the COVID-19 pandemic, but also to prevent spread of other endemic diseases.
The panel dedicated to health care in Africa highlighted the EU and EIB’s role in fighting the pandemic in developing countries, ensuring equitable access to vaccine, with a special focus on the Sustainable Health Industry for Resilience in Africa and the COVAX initiative under Team Europe. Panelists pointed out the need to finance not only vaccine manufacturing but also pharma manufacturing to help Africa build capacity to produce medicines on its own. They also called for more support to enable African countries to face the logistical challenge to deliver vaccines.
The second panel focusing on Africa’s water needs underlined the positive impacts of water projects for women and girls and as driver to reduce poverty. Examples mentioned include water and sanitation projects in the Lake Victoria region, benefitting the cities of Kisumu in Kenya, Mwanza in Tanzania and Kampala in Uganda, that are supported by the EU and the EIB. Caroline Ogutu, EIB Water Engineer in Nairobi, reminded that the EIB is the largest lender in the water sector having invested over €70 billion in more than 1600 projects across the world since its inception, including over €200 million in water projects in Africa in 2020 alone.
Finally, EIB Vice-President Thomas Östros closed the event by reminding the audience that we must all constantly fine-tune our approach to development to respond to evolving EU and partner countries priorities to reduce poverty, disease and environmental degradation.
By 2050, the European Union is meant to achieve climate neutrality, or net zero greenhouse gas emissions. Clean hydrogen can be a key factor in reducing emissions in the transport sector and in industry, becoming a green energy source for these difficult areas of the economy. According to forecasts, hydrogen technologies will be viable within 5 to 10 years. An advisory agreement signed between the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the Polish Cluster of Hydrogen Technologies will support the roll-out of clean hydrogen technologies in the country.
The heaviest rainfall in a hundred years has caused devastating floods in Luxembourg, our host country, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. The number of casualties is still uncertain but it is clear that many dozens of people have died, many more are missing, and that tens of thousands of people have had their homes and businesses destroyed. At the EIB, our thoughts go to the victims of this catastrophe.