, NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 9 – The European Investment Bank (EIB) plans to commit Sh12 billion of new private sector investment in East Africa as it celebrates the first decade of its Nairobi regional office.
European Investment Bank Vice President Pim van Ballekom is expected to formally make the announcement when he visits Kenya later this week to mark the 10 year anniversary of local operations of the world’s largest international public bank.
This will be EIB’s largest ever support for small business investment in East Africa.
“Across Africa investment in energy, water and transport infrastructure, as well as ensuring that entrepreneurs and companies can unlock new business opportunities, are essential for economic growth, improving lives and ensuring a better future. The European Investment Bank’s engagement in East Africa has been transformed since the opening of our Nairobi office a decade ago,” said Ballekom ahead of the visit.
The new support will be for lending to local companies with leading banks active in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Burundi.
Since 2005 the Nairobi presence of the European Investment Bank responsible for Central and Eastern Africa has supported more than EUR 3 billion (Sh325 billion) of investment both across the region and elsewhere in Africa.
The new private sector support to be announced in East Africa will back investment by micro, small and medium enterprises under dedicated credit lines that reflect different investment needs.
The new programmes will support job creation and economic growth in Kenya, Tanzania and Burundi by providing long-term local and foreign currency loans and support investment across a range of sectors, including agriculture.
The lending will be supported by technical assistance to improve credit risk assessment, business development and implementation of environmental and social policies by partner banks, and to strengthen the business and investment skills of final beneficiaries, backed by the European Investment Bank and the European Union.
“Investment by small companies and entrepreneurs is essential for economic growth and to create jobs. The European Investment Bank is pleased to strengthen our support to ensure that companies in Kenya and across East Africa can unlock new business opportunities and build on previous successful engagement with leading local banks. Lending with local banking partners is a key part of the European Investment Bank’s contribution to Europe’s engagement to support economic development across Africa,” Ballekom said.
Over the last decade the European Investment Bank has provided more than EUR 18 billion for investment across Africa.