Visit of ACP Ambassadors at EIB ©imedia/EIB
On 22 July 2010 the European Investment Bank welcomed the representatives of the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries to Luxembourg. The 80-strong delegation consisted of ambassadors, chargés d'affaires and other diplomats.

It was the second meeting of this kind and provided an opportunity for the Bank to discuss key activities with senior representatives of the ACP region: the ACP countries’ Committee of Ambassadors and the Brussels-based ACP Secretariat. EIB President Philippe Maystadt welcomed the delegation and Vice-President Plutarchos Sakellaris presented the activities the Bank had carried out in the ACP countries and territories during 2009. Their Excellencies Mr Mohamed Ibn Chambas, Secretary-General of the ACP Secretariat, and René Makongo, Chairman of the Committee of Ambassadors and Ambassador of the Republic of Gabon, headed up the delegation.

In his welcome address Mr Maystadt stressed the role played by the EIB in the ACP countries in the present economic climate, particularly as a “public” long-term financing institution. In 2009 the global crisis had affected the ACP region’s economic growth by reducing exports, investment activity and tourism. The EIB President looked with confidence at the level of the Bank’s financing operations in the countries in question in 2010 and believed that it would continue to grow.

Mr Maystadt highlighted the specific context of this meeting, held in the wake of the signing of the revised version of the Cotonou Agreement, which had taken place just a month ago in Burkina Faso. He pointed out that the revised agreement, which stressed in particular regional integration and action to combat climate change, reflected a fuller partnership between the European Union and the ACP countries. It was also a useful tool in the fight against poverty and in pursuit of the millennium development goals, issues that were to be addressed in the day’s discussions and the regional working sessions held with the EIB’s operational staff.

The Bank has been operating in the ACP countries since 1963 and last year provided EUR 863m for projects across the region. The EIB has considerably expanded lending activity in the region since the start of the economic crisis, with an increase in signed commitments of 54% compared to 2008.