OeEB, EIB launch US$119m private sector financing initiative for businesses affected by COVID-19

AFRICAThe Development Bank of Austria (OeEB) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) have launched a new EUR100 million (US$119.38m) private sector financing initiative for entrepreneurs and businesses most impacted by economic, health and social challenges triggered by COVID-19.

The programme will enhance access to long-term financing across sub-Saharan Africa, help to create thousands of jobs and accelerate sustainable development and poverty reduction.

The first joint business financing supported by the two institutions will provide both direct loans to companies in Africa and financing managed by local banks.

“This first cooperation between the Development BankofAustria, and the European Investment Bank will provide timely support for private sector investment across Africa and strengthen sustainable development during challenging times,” said Gernot Blümel, FederalMinisterofFinance of the Republic of Austria and Governor of the European Investment Bank.

“Austria is committed to supporting high-impact investment in Africa and I welcome this new EUR 100 million (US$119.38m) COVID-19 economic resilience initiative that will support thousands of jobs in businesses and help companies large and small to tackle the impact of the pandemic.”

“Especially now, in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic which hits SMEs hardest, it has become even more important.

Sabine Gaber and Michael Wancata – Members of Executive Board, OeEB

Reflecting the crucial need to strengthen economic resilience and private sector investment during the pandemic the new financing scheme will be able to support a broad range of eligible investments by African small and medium sized enterprises.

“Companies across Africa and Europe are faced by unprecedented challenges caused by COVID-19, with disruption to exports and the need to rapidly change business activity,” said Werner Hoyer, President of the European Investment Bank.

“The European Investment Bank is pleased to join forces with OeEB, theDevelopment BankofAustria, to provide EUR 100 million (US$119.38m) to ensure that private sector business across Africa can access long-term financing, create jobs and invest during these challenging times.”

The new initiative will contribute towards sustainable development goals, including SDG 1 “No Poverty” and SDG 8 “Decent work and economic growth.

The new financing is available immediately to support investment by agribusinesses, manufacturing and service sector businesses across sub-Saharan Africa.

“Improving access to finance for small and medium-sized businesses – particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa and the world’s Least Developed Countries – has been one of our core goals for many years,” said Sabine Gaber and Michael Wancata, Members of OeEB’s Executive Board.

“Especially now, in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic which hits SMEs hardest, it has become even more important.

“We are therefore delighted that this cooperation with the European Investment Bank enables us to provide targeted, much needed support to the private sector and businesses across Africa which helps ensure ongoing investments and secures jobs.”

Through this credit line, OeEB and EIB will provide funding to multiple financial institutions and directly to private business to address the adverse consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic on private businesses and to contribute to the financial inclusion of SMEs.

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