New regional roads, ports, airports and power generation schemes in Africa: 11 new projects funded by EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund

EU website. In 2009, a total of 11 grant operations were approved by the EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund to build large-scale energy, transport and information and communication technology infrastructures of regional importance across Africa. The Trust Fund, managed by the European Investment Bank, further expanded its budget in 2009. Total grant resources of € 372 million have been provided to the Fund since its launch and could leverage up to € 5 billion in loans from European or international development financial institutions and the private sector. The European Commission, the main contributor to the Fund, increased its participation by € 200 million.

“Regional integration is a key part of the recipe for a successful sustainable development of Africa. I intend to keep it high on the EU agenda: as Europe experience shows, no regional markets in Africa, no growth. The Trust Fund also shows how development aid can be used to leverage other funds. This is key for Europe since we provide 60% of global aid for development. We have to make better use of aid money and I have set a target that every aid Euro should leverage five euros of other kind of funding for aid. At the moment, the Trust Fund already exceeds that target”, stated Andris Piebalgs, European Commissioner for development.

“The European Investment Bank is pleased to work closely with the European Commission and the other donors. The EIB manages the EU Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund and hosts the Secretariat. We congratulate the Trust Fund’s proven role as a catalyst for identifying new and innovative projects and its significant contribution to reinforce the cooperation with European Development Finance Institutions”: added Plutarchos Sakellaris, EIB Vice President responsible for operations in Africa, Caribbean and the Pacific.

The 11 projects (see annex), add to 8 projects approved in 2007 and 2008, include:

  • Hydroelectric schemes, such as Felou in West Africa as well as,
  • Electricity interconnection schemes, such as the Benin-Togo interconnection and the Caprivi (Namibia-Zambia) interconnection
  • Roads, railways, airports and ports, such as Beira, Walvis Bay, Pointe Noire, Port Louis, the Jomo Kenyata International Airport or the Great Eastern Road in Zambia
  • The East African Submarine Cable system (EASSy), a fibre optical cable linking Southern and Eastern African countries into the international communications network.
  • Preliminary studies for Sambagalou and Gouina in West Africa or Ruzizi and Gibe hydroelectric schemes in Central and Eastern Africa

The activities of the fund will be discussed at the high level conference “Joining up Africa: Regional Economic Integration in Africa” on 4 March in London, in presence of Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs. It will look at how the European Commission and African institutions, donors, business and investors can better work together for regional integration in Africa.

2009 marked a record for the Trust Fund. The European Commission increased its participation by € 200 million; the UK also pledged to increase its financial contributions to the Fund by € 20 million and Finland joined as the 13th donor with € 5 million.

Since the Fund was launched in 2007, over € 96 million worth of grant funding has been allocated and a total of € 122 million earmarked for key infrastructure projects, leveraging to date € 1.5 billion. Based on current trends, the total grant resources of the Fund have the potential to leverage investments from financial institutions and European, African or international project sponsors, including the private sector up to € 5 billion.

Background information:

The EU Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund is the main financial instrument for the implementation of the Africa-EU Partnership on Infrastructure. The Partnership was launched in 2006, together with the European Investment Bank and Member States, and aims at reinforcing regional integration through the strengthening of large continental infrastructure networks. The African Union Commission is the main interlocutor of the European Union for the implementation and further development of the Infrastructure Partnership, in close dialogue with regional bodies, specialised agencies and African financial partners.

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