Connections between the economies of Europe and the rest of the world are increasingly close. Events around the globe can have a significant effect on Europe. So it’s important for Europe to contribute to stable growth in the countries beyond its borders.

That’s why the European Investment Bank devotes a big part of its resources each year to investments outside the EU that aim to boost development and fight climate change. The EU bank also works hard to ensure that each of these investments has a major impact.  Here’s how we do it—and some impressive data to show the massive impact of our work.

First, the big numbers. In 2018, the European Investment Bank signed 101 projects outside the EU for €9 billion in lending. That includes €1.7 billion for 48 new projects in Africa, the Caribbean or Pacific countries, and €1.96 billion for 23 new projects in Asia and Latin America.

EIB impact numbers

But it isn’t all about the size of the loan portfolio. What’s the impact of these investments?

Our new projects outside the EU in 2018 will result in:

  • Clean water and sanitation for 11.7 million people
  • 1.3 million tonnes of CO2 emissions avoided
  • Electricity for 30.2 million households
  • 254 000 jobs  supported at small and medium-sized companies, midcaps and microenterprises
  • 49 million more passengers each year on sustainable urban transport
  • 5.6 million hours cut from road journey times
  • Mobile internet access for 2.8 million people

These are impressive numbers. To understand their real impact, we measure whether it would have happened without our involvement. In other words, would some other bank have loaned the money.

The answer is clearly: No.

We assess the European Investment Bank’s contribution to every project outside the EU based on the bank’s expected financial and technical contribution, beyond the market alternative. We add in a range of indicators to rate our financial contribution, our financial facilitation and our advice.

Based on a range of indicators, including systematic tracking of project and technical assistance results and collaborative studies on project impact, 94 of the 101 new projects in 2018 earned an overall rating for the bank’s contribution that was either “significant” or “high.”

Long-term EIB impact

Of course, we don’t aim for easy, quick gains. We’ve been active in Africa, for example, for 55 years. Our investments are intended to have a lasting impact.

One element of that long-term strategy is the European Investment Bank’s role in advising on the early stages of project preparation, which often leads to loans from the EU bank later. Outside the EU, 42 new technical assistance operations supported project preparation, implementation and capacity building. This represented €38 million of support.

Of these technical assistance assignments, 19 concerned the preparation of new projects. If those projects go ahead, the European Investment Bank would expect to loan them about €1.2 billion. A key factor here is that when the EU bank lends, other institutions take it as a stamp of approval and join in. When the European Investment bank lends to these 19 projects, it would be expected to lead to investments worth €1.5 billion from other financiers.

All these numbers—and the methodologies behind them—are laid out in our report The EIB Outside the European Union: Financing with Global Impact. In the report, you’ll also find stories about the European Investment Bank’s impact on communities as diverse as:

  • Mexican fishermen (through our Sustainable Oceans Fund)
  • rural recipients of Ethiopian government payments (through our investment in local fintech company M-BIRR)
  • small companies in Lebanon and Egypt (through our Economic Resilience Initiative)
  • Peruvian coffee cooperatives (through our Land Degradation Neutrality Fund)
  • 200 000 small business owners in the Dominican Republic, over half of them women (through our credit lines to local banks).