13 September 2017

The drive for jobs and growth in the Mediterranean region should be led by the private sector. This was the call today, as the European Investment Bank (EIB) held an international conference in Cairo dedicated to “Boosting investments in the Mediterranean region”, in partnership with the Ministry of International Cooperation and Investment, the European Union Delegation to Egypt and the Union for the Mediterranean (UfM). The conference participants discussed regional challenges and opportunities in the context of the Bank’s recent efforts to mobilise finance to build economic resilience in the Mediterranean countries and offer new opportunities, particularly for young people and women under its new Economic Resilience Initiative.

The EU bank provided finance of EUR 1070.6 million in 2016 to support private sector development in the southern Mediterranean region. The finance targeted micro, small, medium-sized and large enterprises.

Government officials, investors, bankers, and researchers from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia discussed the current economic context and potential drivers of economic growth in the region, ways to help SMEs and micro entrepreneurs to access finance, and the critical investment needs to promote innovation and the international competitiveness of local firms.

“We believe the role that the private sector plays in boosting economic activity and creating jobs for the unemployed and new entrants to the labour market is absolutely key. This is why the EIB is stepping up its support to the private sector under its Economic Resilience Initiative. We recently approved EUR 600 million for SME finance in Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Tunisia and Morocco under the new initiative. Now we are looking at more good projects to support”, said Dario Scannapieco, Vice-President of the EIB. 

Ambassador Ivan Surkoš, Head of the European Union Delegation to Egypt said, "Economic development is a critically important challenge, and to bring benefits it has to be sustainable, inclusive and guarantee decent job opportunities for all, especially young people and women."

"In this process, the private sector plays a crucial role. Supporting SMEs and the private sector in Egypt and the Mediterranean region will continue to be at the heart of the EU’s cooperation," he added.

Ambassador Surkoš pointed out that the EU is expected to mobilise more than EUR 1.2 billion in new financing for MSMEs in the region through the “EU Initiative for Financial Inclusion” during the period 2016-2020. He indicated that this will be done by pooling resources between the European Commission Neighbourhood Investment Facility (NIF) and European Finance Institutions.

Furthermore, the Head of the EU Delegation announced the new initiative called the European External Investment Plan (EIP), which will cover the MENA region, aimed at leveraging public and private funds from the EU and its Member States. The initiative will also reinforce the efforts to improve the business and investment climate. About EUR 44 billion is expected to be mobilised from 2017 until 2020.

The EIB conference comes as the EU bank rolls out its new Economic Resilience Initiative (ERI), which is fully complementary with the European External Investment Plan. The Economic Resilience Initiative for the Southern Neighbourhood and Western Balkans involves a step change in EIB support for these regions, helping economies to absorb and respond to crises and shocks, such as the Syrian refugee crisis, while maintaining growth. By stimulating investment in the private sector and vital infrastructure, it aims to create opportunities for employment and improve both daily living conditions and the business environment by increasing the provision of services like energy, transport, water, sanitation and education. Alongside increased financing, the EIB is set to offer additional concessional finance, enhanced support to the private sector and technical assistance during the 2016-2020 period. 

This initiative is progressing, so far 13 projects representing financing of some EUR 1 billion have been approved since its launch in late 2016 until mid-2017.  Private sector development accounts for well over half of approved financing. Lending via partner banks alone is set to benefit over 600 smaller businesses and midcaps, helping to sustain more than 40 000 jobs.

In 2016, the EIB provided EUR 1.6 billion in the Mediterranean region, of which 60% went to private sector finance.

Source: The European Investment Bank

Illustration Photo: OFID has co-financed Phases I & II of project that built grain silos in various regions in Egypt. Agriculture, particularly the export of grains, plays a vital role in Egypt’s economy. Additional storage capacity is needed as grain is often housed in open areas that offered little protection from humidity, insects and other damaging influences. (credits: OFID Gallery / Flickr Creative Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0))

Comments

No comments to display.

Related posts

EU's Call for Proposals: An empowering, inclusive Next Generation Internet

The objective is to support actions on smarter, open, trusted and personalised learning solutions to optimise digital learning and to allow learners to engage and interact with content and with peers.
Application Deadline in 5 months

Singapore to establish Additive Manufacturing Facility and Applications in Maritime Sector

The facility’s location also leverages PSA’s parts supplier base and facility operations to support just-in-time inventory. This move towards digitised inventories reduces the need to hold excess inventory, which lowers storage costs, while shortening turnaround time from weeks to days due to improved availability of spare parts. In the long run, PSA will expand the scope of these services to the wider maritime industry, including ship owners, to help build its business adjacencies.

EU's Call for Proposals: The AQUAEXCEL2020 twelfth call for access

The facilities available cover the entire range of production systems (cage, pond, recirculation, flowthrough, hatchery and disease challenge); environments (freshwater, marine, cold, temperate and warm water); scales (small, medium and industrial scale); fish species (salmonids, cold and warm water marine fish, freshwater fish and artemia); and fields of expertise (nutrition, physiology, health & welfare, genetics, engineering, monitoring & management technologies).
Application Deadline in a month

Environment and Big Data: Role in Smart Cities of India

This study identifies six environmental factors, which should be integrated in the development of smart cities. These environmental factors include indicators of landscape and geography, climate, atmospheric pollution, water resources, energy resources, and urban green space as a major component of the environment.

Corteva Agriscience and IRRI Ink Partnership to Develop Advanced Rice Technologies and Programs

The partnership seeks to improve the genetic outcomes of breeding programs, encourage sustainable rice cultivation, and develop new rice varieties which deliver higher yields and are more resilient against biotic and abiotic stresses.

Call for Applications: Communication projects which mitigate anthropogenic climate change

The Minor Foundation for Major Challenges (MFMC) is inviting applications from all over the world to fund communication projects which mitigate anthropogenic climate change.
Application Deadline in a month

EU's Call for Proposals: Digital technologies for improved performance in cognitive production plants

Proposals need to develop new technologies to realise cognitive production plants, with improved efficiency and sustainability, by use of smart and networked sensor technologies, intelligent handling and online evaluation of various forms of data streams as well as new methods for self-organizing processes and process chains.
Application Deadline in 4 months

Study reveals best use of wildflowers to benefit crops on farms

For the first time, a Cornell University study of strawberry crops on New York farms tested this theory and found that wildflower strips on farms added pollinators when the farm lay within a "Goldilocks zone," where 25 to 55 percent of the surrounding area contained natural lands.

EU's Call for Proposals: Reinforcing the EU agricultural knowledge base

Activities shall analyse and compare the approaches taken on their performance and impact for farmers/foresters as well as effectivity of the communication and information channels used for dissemination in countries and regions.
Application Deadline in 3 months

The Bali Fintech Agenda: A Blueprint for Successfully Harnessing Fintech’s Opportunities

In response to the Bali Fintech Agenda, the World Bank will focus on using fintech to deepen financial markets, enhance responsible access to financial services, and improve cross-border payments and remittance transfer systems.