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Europe Day Celebrations Lay Focus on Global Gateway Initiative for Africa

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The University of Nairobi played host to Europe Day celebrations in Kenya that is commemorated every 9th of May. The day seeks to celebrate peace and unity and is the anniversary of the historic “Schuman Declaration” that set out his idea for a new form of co-operation within Europe that would make war, unthinkable.

This year’s celebrations were held under the theme, ‘European Year of Skills’ and the university was an apt choice as venue. The theme sought to explore how the youth can get the right skills needed to get quality jobs and the role partnerships between the private sector, government and multilateral financial institutions play in creating much needed jobs.

The European Investment Bank (EIB), which is the EU Bank, sought to address its role in the future of Europe- Africa relations. It is the largest multilateral financial institution in the world operating in more than 160 countries including the Eastern Africa region.

Edward Claessen, Head of the EIB Nairobi Hub said, “Covid-19 pandemic showed how connected we are and how much value Africa and Europe can create by working together on innovative solutions to revive their economies and respond effectively to major challenges such as climate change or health crises.”

EIB investments aim at sustainably catalysing transformative action in various sectors with the goal of addressing imbalances and promoting stable economies. Team Europe recently launched the Global Gateway Africa – Europe Investment plan which aims to support Africa for a strong, inclusive, green and digital recovery and transformation by accelerating the green transition; the digital transition and sustainable growth and decent job creation while strengthening health systems and improving education and training. 

The Investment Package is being delivered through Team Europe co-operation meaning the EU, its Member States and European financial institutions such as the European Investment Bank working together to support concrete and transformational projects jointly identified with African partners in priority areas.

EIB Vice President Thomas Ostros said, “The EIB is unique in its business model, operating both across Europe and around the world. It is a leading financier for private and public investment across Africa.”

“The close cooperation with African and international partners is essential for the EIB’s successful support for large and small scale life changing investment across this continent,” he added.

The European Investment Bank has operated in Africa since 1965. Since then, the EU bank has invested €59 billion in 52 African countries, supporting infrastructure projects, innovative firms and renewable energy schemes, the public sector and private companies from microenterprises to the largest multinationals. In 2022 alone, EIB provided more than EUR 4.1 billion for private and public investment across Africa.   The EIB is a key part of the EU toolbox that for decades has helped make the partnership between these two continents stronger. 

EIB Global has now been creating new regional hubs to influence through proximity by disbursing financing quicker and in local currencies. The first regional hub was opened in Nairobi, Kenya by EIB President Dr. Werner Hoyer in 2005. The local and international experts in the Nairobi hub make sure projects get off the ground faster and succeed over the long term.

EIB’s history with Kenya dates back to 1976. The Nairobi Regional Hub serves the region’s 11 countries of Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Eritrea, Djibouti, and Somalia.

With the EU being Kenya’s largest trading partner, the recent EU-Kenya and EU- Tanzania business forums that were headlined by EIB Vice President, Thomas Ostros among others, sought to deepen ties between the partner countries through exploring opportunities for trade and investment.

Over 36% of EIB lending in developing countries was for Climate Change mitigation. EIB is the largest financier of renewable energy and water infrastructure investment, with examples such as the Olkaria Geothermal Plant investment for the past 4 decades in Kenya; Lake Turkana Wind Farm which is the largest in Africa and the work with d.Light to accelerate solar power adoption. All these have supported in placing Kenya top in Africa and 7th globally in terms of adoption of renewable energy (which stands at over 90% with plans to have this reach 100% adoption by 2030).

Over the last decade the EIB has provided over EUR 32 billion for green energy, water, urban, education, agriculture, telecom, health and business investment in 40 countries across the continent.

Over 71% of EIB financing in Sub Saharan Africa has gone into supporting least developed or fragile states

Between 2021 and 2027, the institutions of the European Union member states will mobilise investments worth up to 300 billion EUR to support the investment needs of partner countries, fostering sustainable and high impact projects. This will also create opportunities for trade and investment for both the EU member states and African countries.

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