Innovative fellowship programme: assessing EIB’s Impact Finance in Africa

The European Investment Bank (EIB) has launched a one-year fellowship for researchers from sub-Saharan Africa with a workshop at the EIB headquarters.

The young researchers come from countries including Cameroun, Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria and Senegal.  They were selected via a competitive application process for an EIB-Global Development Network (GDN) Fellowship in Applied Development Finance.

The challenge posed to the fellows over the course of the year will be to apply cutting-edge evaluation techniques to assess the EIB’s impact financing operations in Africa.

Building skills and capacity

During the workshop, the fellows heard from EIB staff and management about the EIB, its objectives and its operations outside the EU. But above all, the workshop served as a forum to openly discuss ideas, develop innovations and set the research agenda for the year.

Over the next year, the researchers, supported by the EIB,GDN and five global experts recruited as programme mentors, will evaluate projects financed under the Bank’s Impact Financing Envelope for the sub-Saharan Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP). The programme will contribute to building skills and capacity in the countries concerned.

Challenges and opportunities in Africa, seen by two programme fellows

Francis Kemeze, Cameroun:
"I think that the next challenge of Africa is the creation of jobs for the youth. Development banks should unlock opportunities for high risk investments, to ensure that people have access to financing.  Thanks to projects financed by development banks, great impact was made on people of the lower level of the pyramid, for example education. In the next 10 years, I would like to be involved in development, conducting studies in Africa to find new ways of doing business." 

Oluwasola Omoju, Nigeria:
"Promoting inclusive and sustainable development are the next challenges for Africa.  The growth of African countries is higher than in some European countries in terms of GDP. Unfortunately, it is not reflected in the living standards of people.  We need to transfer this economic growth into improvements to people's lives, into job creation, into renewable energies, into education. Development banks have been doing a lot in Africa, but I would like them to do more in capacity building.”

“We are very happy at GDN to be able to offer, through this partnership with the EIB, a unique opportunity for young researchers from the ACP regions to marshal the tools and methods of evaluation and apply them to innovative, high development impact private finance projects,” said Pierre Jacquet, President of GDN, about the initiative.

Debora Revoltella, Director of the Economics Department at the EIB, added: “This is a unique opportunity for the EIB Group to show our commitment to impact assessment, while at the same time supporting a programme of capacity development for leading researchers in Africa”.

Photo: EIB Vice-President Andrew McDowell welcomed participants to the Bank