EIB directs support to women and SMEs in Africa
EIB looks to help the most vulnerable and to encourage banks to take on more risk as it unveils a €5.2 billion package for non-EU countries.
Female-run businesses in Africa may be hardest hit by coronavirus, which is why the European response needs to focus on initiatives to help them, the European Investment Bank says, and it must tailor emergency packages to assist small and medium-sized enterprises and micro-financing institutions.
The bank is part of ‘Team Europe,’ a joint effort between the European Commission, the EBRD, member states and other development agencies, to provide support for countries struggling with the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It is very good to show the outside world that Europe as a team is taking on this challenge very forcefully,” says Ambroise Fayolle, vice-president responsible for development policy at the EIB.
In mid April, the bank unveiled €5.2 billion of emergency funding for its non-EU operations. The bulk of this will go to Africa to offer immediate support to the health sector and to provide liquidity to SMEs through local banks, Fayolle and Maria Shaw-Barragan, head of global partners EIB, tell Euromoney.
The EIB is also looking at either taking an equity stake in or providing a backstop for the Africa Guarantee Fund, which underwrites banks to help them take more risk on female entrepreneurs.