Werner Hoyer, President of the EIB, and Sahle-Work Zewde, President of Ethiopia ©EIB

It is on the African continent that we must step up our efforts the most, in order to attain the UN Sustainable Development Goals, EIB President Werner Hoyer stressed as he opened at the Africa Day conference in Addis Ababa on Thursday co-hosted by the EIB and UNIDO. “We need to have the right structures in place to facilitate private sector development and ‘crowd-in’ private sector finance”, the President of the EIB said in his opening address. “Together, we need to support a shift from aid to investment, from poverty to prosperity”

Investing in young people and women for a brighter future

“Africa needs more investment in human capital so that local knowledge and expertise can flourish”, Hoyer said. “Investing in human capital, while strengthening the appropriate legal and regulatory frameworks, will enhance project quality, improve sustainability and create an even brighter future for the African continent.”

“I welcome the Ethiopian government’s efforts to prioritise gender equality and equal opportunity”, Hoyer added addressing Ethiopia’s new President Sahle-Work.

Addressing the conference, she made special mention of EIB support for Ethiopia Women Entrepreneurship Development Project signed by EIB Vice President Ambroise Fayolle at Africa Day.

Sustainable industrialisation creates jobs

The President and Vice President have been underlining the benefits of sustainable industrialisation for Africa, the central theme of the conference. Both visited EIB supported projects in Addis Ababa after meeting the President and Prime Minister of Ethiopia where they had a chance to hear from beneficiaries and project promotors.

Closing Africa Day Vice President Ambroise Fayolle said, “It is incumbent on all of us here – from Government, from actors like UNIDO and ourselves at the EIB, from the private sector as well – to find the right partnerships and means of collaboration to achieve the twin goals of sustainable industrialization and job creation that are so important to Africa. We have heard today about some of the challenges and stumbling blocks for Africa’s industrialization potential.”

Read the speech from EIB President Werner Hoyer