>@Shirin Wheeler/EIB
Vice President Ambroise Fayolle : The EIB believes it has to be a combination of public policies that target innovation and education ©Shirin Wheeler/EIB

"In Europe, policy makers should push for policies that target the people and the regions that are left behind," EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle said in a lively debate on digital growth and inclusion organised on 19 April 2017 by the Bertelsmann Foundation with the Financial Times.   

VP Fayolle was joined by former Obama staffer Cecilia Muñoz and Arvind Gupta, Head of National Technology to the Indian Prime Minister.

How to square digital growth and technological change with inclusion is a pertinent topic for the EIB these days and comes after the recent publication and launch of a report into inclusive growth  by the EIB and World Economic Forum with contributions from the Brussels-based Bruegel think tank. 

During the debate held at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C., Ambroise Fayolle argued that tackling this required a combination of public policies that target innovation and education - two areas supported by the EU bank. This chimed with views expressed by Cecilia Muñoz, who called for "deliberate policy making." She added: "We have the capacity to empower people with technology, but the question is whether we have the will to do so." 

Empowering people through education and digital skills

The EIB Group is central to the European response to these challenges, particularly with regard to financing infrastructure, the digital economy and innovation. VP Fayolle also emphasised the importance of supporting education and digital skills as a bridge between technological change, growth and inclusion. 

In 2016 alone, the EIB invested more than EUR 13 billion in innovation, and provided 11 million people with new or upgraded digital connections.

Between 2000 and 2016, the EIB lent more than EUR 38 billion for investment in educational facilities, vocational and teacher training.