>@EIB/To be defined
Panama Canal Administrator Jorge Quijano presents President Hoyer with a history of the canal in recognition of the EIB's engagement ©EIB/To be defined

President Hoyer is this week visiting three Central American countries to see the benefit and impact of recent EIB projects at first hand, discuss current and future EIB lending in the region and sign new projects.

This marks the first visit to the region by an EIB President. Lending in Central America is covered by the EIB's dedicated Asia and Latin America mandate and projects signed in recent years have supported significant improvements in local energy, water and transport infrastructure, as well as investment by European companies.

President Hoyer is visiting the region with Vice-President Alvarez and colleagues from ALA, as well as the local EU Delegation.

The visit started in Panama to see progress on the EIB backed expansion of the Panama Canal and engage high-level discussions with local ministers on how the EIB can build on recent engagement to support a range of sectors in the country. Resident EU Ambassadors will also be briefed on the role of the EU Bank in the region.

The new Panama canal locks will enable a new generation of larger ships to cross the Central American isthmus and link ports in Asia, America and Europe. The huge engineering project currently provided direct employment for nearly 30,000 people and last year the state-owned canal provided more than USD 1 billion for spending on public services in Panama. EIB backed port investment across Europe, including the Maasvlaakte 2 project in Rotterdam and the Port of Liverpool, will cater for larger vessels.

Although there has recently been significant public discussion and media coverage of a dispute with contractors on the project this has not been linked to recognition of the USD 500m long-term support provided by the EIB. This loan followed previous support for the second bridge over the canal linking South and Central America.