As part of its External Investment Plan, the European Union has approved €800 million for investment earmarked for Africa and the regional “neighborhood” countries, a number of which also are North African states.
The funding will support programs including a new lending alternative for refugees or the internally displaced, who typically have trouble borrowing money at affordable rates. “Another program will enable over 25,000 small businesses to access mobile accounts and long-term credit, in order to support the financial inclusion driven by diasporas, migrants’ families and returnees,” the EU said.
“The EU’s External Investment Plan has already started to bring real benefits to the people in our partner countries,” said EU High Representative and Vice-President Federica Mogherini. “These guarantee programs for sustainable investment give new access to affordable loans to people who have been forced to flee their country and those who have recently returned home to rebuild their lives.”
This EU funding is expected to help leverage an estimated €8 to 9 billion in public and private investment in Africa and the neighboring countries. The EIP ultimately targets a goal of €44 billion of investments through an EU contribution worth €4.1 billion.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker first proposed the EU External Investment Plan in 2016, and it was formally launched in 2017.