The European Investment Bank (EIB) used the fifth African Union-European Union summit in Abidjan this week to announce a raft of funding initiatives for entrepreneurs and SMEs in Africa.
The EIB formally agreed financing to support more than EUR230 million (US$272 million) of private sector investment across Africa at the summit.
It will commit up to EUR15 million (US$17.7 million) for SME support via the Maghreb Private Equity Fund IV, which will target primarily growth capital investments in small and medium-sized private companies in Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and Egypt.
Meanwhile, new cooperation with microfinance partners in Senegal and Mali will strengthen financing for entrepreneurs and microenterprises in the region and unlock additional support from international and local investors.
In addition, the EIB signed a new commitment of EUR10 million (US$11.8 milion) in Partech Africa, a new initiative expected to unlock a total of EUR100 million (US$118 million) of new financing for innovative and technology-focused startups across Africa.
This will include backing young entrepreneurs developing innovative business models at early stage, in sectors such as fintech, consumer online services, mobility, enterprises services, health-tech and online service providers, active in both English-speaking and Francophone Africa.
EIB president Werner Hoyer said the bank was committed to supporting new investment in Africa that unlocks economic opportunities, creates jobs and tackles a changing climate.
“The EIB is working alongside its fellow EU institutions to promote sustainable growth, foster innovation and create the new jobs that will benefit people living in Europe and Africa alike,” he said.
EIB vice president Ambroise Fayolle, responsible for development, said the bank was doubling its efforts to find even better ways to target what needs to be done in terms of productive investments that generate jobs in Africa and support its sustainable development.
“We know that by 2050, Africa’s population may hit 2.4 billion of predominantly young people. That is why we are pushing initiatives like Boost Africa for innovative startups, in partnership with the African Development Bank and the European Commission, as well as the new financing for microenterprises and SMEs such as we have signed this week,” Fayolle said.