Nige­ria, 39 other African coun­tries to ben­e­fit from EIB’s 200m jobs, cli­mate ac­tion sup­port

Business a.m. - - NEWS - Ben Eguzozie in Port Harcourt

NIGE­RIA, AFRICA’S largest econ­omy by gross do­mes­tic prod­uct (GDP), is among 40 African coun­tries that would ben­e­fit from a Euro­pean In­vest­ment Bank’s (EIB) €200 mil­lion loan fa­cil­ity aimed at sup­port­ing tradere­lated pro­duc­tive in­vest­ments in re­new­able en­ergy projects in Africa.

The fa­cil­ity, which comes through the Africa Ex­portIm­port Bank (Afrex­im­bank) has a 15-year re­pay­ment pe­riod, and will sup­port pro­mot­ers in 40 coun­tries across Africa with long-term fund­ing.

A state­ment by Obi Emekek­wue, direc­tor and global head, com­mu­ni­ca­tions and events man­age­ment, Afrex­im­bank, sent to our cor­re­spon­dent, said, the agree­ment was signed be­tween Afrex­im­bank’s Afo­labi Obis­esan, man­ager, guar­an­tees and spe­cialised fi­nance and Am­broise Fay­olle, EIB’s vice pres­i­dent re­spon­si­ble for de­vel­op­ment ex­change docu- ments, on the mar­gins of EIB’s Africa Day pro­gramme on Novem­ber 22 in Ad­dis Ababa, the Ethiopian cap­i­tal.

By im­prov­ing ac­cess to fi­nance for pri­vate en­ter­prises, and specif­i­cally SMEs and mid-caps, the loan will en­hance in­tra-African trade, as well as trade with the Euro­pean Union, the EIB said.

It will en­able smaller com­pa­nies on the con­ti­nent to sus­tain and cre­ate new jobs; and will ul­ti­mately stim­u­late the ex­pan­sion, di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion and de­vel­op­ment of African trade.

At least 25 per­cent of the fi­nanc­ing will be ded­i­cated to projects which will help to di­ver­sify the power mix in the re­gion, re­duc­ing reliance on fos­sil fu­els and sup­port­ing cli­mate goals, said Afrex­im­bank’s Obis­esan.

For Nige­ria, Africa’s largest oil pro­ducer, whose econ­omy al­most wholly de­pends on crude pe­tro­leum in­comes, di­ver­si­fy­ing would be a good game changer on how to strut growth in the coun­try’s econ­omy that has been badly har­ried by a 2016 re­ces­sion.

Werner Hoyer, pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean In­vest­ment Bank speak­ing on the Africa Day event, jointly hosted by the EIB and the United Na­tions In­dus­trial De­vel­op­ment Or­ga­ni­za­tion (UNIDO), said: “The EIB, as the EU Bank, is com­mit­ted to sup­port­ing in­vest­ment in Africa that un­locks eco­nomic op­por­tu­ni­ties, cre­ates jobs and tack­les a chang­ing cli­mate. As one of the largest mul­ti­lat­eral fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions, the EIB has a cru­cial role to play to help chan­nel pri­vate cap­i­tal to­wards the en­ergy tran­si­tion. This is ur­gent if we want to achieve the Paris Agree­ment and the Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals. With this op­er­a­tion, Afrex­im­bank and the EIB are join­ing forces to im­prove ac­cess to clean en­ergy across Africa.”

On his part, Bene­dict Okey Oramah, pres­i­dent of Afrex­im­bank, said “We are con­fi­dent that ef­fec­tive im­ple­men­ta­tion of this fa­cil­ity, which her­alds Afrex­im­bank’s fi­nanc­ing of cli­mate ac­tion projects in Africa, will lead to strong de­vel­op­ment out­comes, in­clud­ing em­ploy­ment cre­ation, in­creased eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties, and in­crease in tax rev­enues for fiskind cally strained gov­ern­ments.”

Ac­cord­ing to him, Afrex­im­bank de­cided to con­clude the fa­cil­ity in fur­ther­ance of its cur­rent strat­egy which pri­or­i­tizes in­tra-African trade; in­tra–African in­vest­ments, in­dus­tri­al­iza­tion and ex­port man­u­fac­tur­ing of the labour­in­ten­sive type.

The EIB has been ac­tive across Africa for over 40 years. In sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa, the Euro­pean bank op­er­ates un­der the Cotonou Agree­ment. The Bank sup­ports re­gional de­vel­op­ment, pri­vate sec­tor and key in­fra­struc­ture con­tribut­ing to eco­nomic growth. In 2017, it in­vested EUR 1.47 bil­lion in 40 projects across sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa, the Caribbean and the Pa­cific, and the Over­seas Coun­tries and Ter­ri­to­ries.

The EIB’s Africa Day was cre­ated to ex­plore the con­ti­nent’s many chal­lenges and dis­cuss ways to tap into its huge po­ten­tial. The event serves as a plat­form for de­bate in ar­eas such as pri­vate sec­tor de­vel­op­ment, fi­nance for small busi­nesses, jobs for youth and women, agri­cul­ture, in­no­va­tion and dig­i­tal­i­sa­tion.

L-R: Olu­mide Oro­jimi, head, cor­po­rate com­mu­ni­ca­tions de­part­ment,The Nige­rian Stock Ex­change (NSE); Os­car N. Onyema, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer, NSE; Ste­fan Trau­mann, Ger­man con­sul gen­eral; and Pai Gamde, chief hu­man re­source of­fi­cer, NSE, dur­ing a clos­ing gong cer­e­mony to dis­cuss on more col­lab­o­ra­tive op­por­tu­ni­ties with the NSE in La­gos re­cently.

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