As part of its External Investment Plan, the EU Tuesday gave its green light to a package of financial guarantee programs worth around €800 million. This will help to leverage an estimated €8-9 billion in public and private investment in Africa and the Neighborhood, the European Commission announced in a press release.
The decision is a major milestone towards delivering investments in Africa and the Neighborhood through the EU’s External Investment Plan (EIP), which is expected to leverage €44 billion of investments through an EU contribution worth €4.1 billion.
The EIP aims to promote inclusive growth, job creation and sustainable development and in this way to tackle some of the root causes of irregular migration, the Commission explained.
One of the new programs will benefit people who currently have difficulty borrowing money at affordable rates, such as internally displaced people, refugees or returnees. Another program will enable over 25,000 small businesses to access mobile accounts and long-term credit, in order to support the financial inclusion driven by diasporas, migrants’ families and returnees.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker first proposed the EU External Investment Plan in 2016, and it was formally launched in 2017. It builds on the successful experience of the “Juncker Plan”, which already triggered hundreds of billions of investments within Europe.
The plan consists of three pillars: The financial pillar, with its European Fund for Sustainable Development worth €4.1 billion; technical assistance to help beneficiaries to develop financially attractive and viable projects; as well as policy dialogue, to help improve the investment climate and business environment in the EU’s partner countries.
High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini said: “The EU’s External Investment Plan has already started to bring real benefits to the people in our partner countries. These guarantee programs for sustainable investment give now access to affordable loans to people who have been forced to flee their country and those who have recently returned home to rebuild their lives: to start small businesses or to have access to new technologies. This plan is about building a new present for many people and for their countries, it is about changing lives, now and for good.”