At the Africa‑Europe High‑Level Forum in Vienna the EIB announced EUR 15.4 million support for investment by a private sector telecom provider that will connect regions currently lacking broadband internet access. The commitment is part of the bank’s new EUR 495 million in financing for three projects to support sustainable transport, clean energy and internet access in North, West and East Africa.
The three projects, signed at the summit attended by heads of state and government from across Africa and Europe, demonstrate the European Investment Bank’s technical and financial support for life-changing investment across the continent.
“New investment is crucial to unlock economic opportunities, improve lives and tackle the impact of a changing climate. As the EU Bank, the European Investment Bank is committed to ensuring the sustainable development goals can be achieved in Africa. Sustainable transport, clean energy and communications networks are shared challenges for Europe and Africa. Working together we can improve the lives of millions. The three projects signed today are more evidence of this.” said Dr. Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank.
Africa is one of the fastest growing regions for data traffic growth however limited connectivity is holding back economic potential and innovation. A new 4,850km fibre optic network to be built in the next 2 years will transform communications for an estimated 9 million people in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Zambia and the Democratic republic of Congo.
Once operational the improved telecommunications infrastructure is expected to support sustainable economic development across the region by enabling local communities to gain access to financial services, mobile health and education services, and agricultural information including commodity prices and weather alerts.
Building on successful partnerships to strengthen connectivity
Reflecting the importance of strengthening connectivity across Africa the European Investment Bank hosted a workshop during the Africa‑Europe High‑Level Forum to examine the impact of recently supported projects with leading public and private sector partners from across Europe and Africa. This included representatives from Austrian Development Bank and multinational energy company Engie.
The rest of the rest of the EUR 495 million will be used in upgrading Cairo’s main metro line to transform public transport capacity used by 20 million people living in the city. In West Africa the EIB will back completion of a new cross-border interconnector to enable first-time access to electricity by 200,000 people in Guinea and increased use of clean energy in Guinea, Mali, Liberia and Cote d’Ivoire. Over the last decade the European Investment Bank has provided EUR 21.9 billion for investment across Africa.