European Union Ambassador to Namibia Jana Hybaskova on Monday introduced the EU’s External Investment Plan (EIP) to encourage investment in Africa and the EU neighbourhood towards strengthening partnerships and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
The European Neighbourhood Policy is a foreign relations instrument of the EU that seeks to tie those countries to the east and south of the European territory to the Union.
According to Hybaskova, the European EIP will mainly benefit two areas, namely Africa and the European neighbourhood. During the launch, she noted that traditional development aid alone cannot meet the challenges faced by developing countries, which is why the EIP is a new approach aimed at boosting business and technical assistance.
Hybaskova elaborated that the EIP entails a guarantee fund for sustainable development in Africa and is a comprehensive blending instrument that can be applied to boost commercial investment in, for example, sectors such as renewable energy and livestock development.
She continued that the EU will discuss the EIP with Namibian stakeholders and the European Investment Bank to identify suitable sectors and areas that can benefit from this instrument, which has the objective to ultimately boost business in order to create more jobs and promote regional integration and industrialisation.
The EIP has been specifically formulated to support social and economic infrastructure and SMEs by addressing obstacles to private investment. With an input of €3.35 billion (about N$53 billion) from the EU budget and the European Development Fund, the EIP will support innovative guarantees and similar instruments in support of private investment, enabling the EIP to mobilise up to €44 billion (about N$704 billion) of investments.
If member states and other partners match the EU’s contribution, the total amount could reach €88 billion (about N$1.4 trillion). By unlocking investments in partner countries, the EIP hopes to contribute to implementing the 2030 Agenda on the Sustainable Development Goals and the Addis Agenda on Financing for Development.
The EIP consists of three complementary pillars: mobilising investment by combining existing investment facilities with a new guarantee within the new European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD); stepping up technical assistance for a broader policy environment to support public authorities and companies in partner countries; and improving the general business environment by fostering good governance, fighting corruption, and removing barriers to investment and market distortions.
Furthermore, the EIP offers an integrated framework enabling full cooperation among the EU member states, partner countries, international financial institutions, donors and the private sector. It is expected to improve the way in which scarce public funds are used and the way public authorities and private investors work together on investment projects.
Through the EIP, the EU will take a further step to contribute to the global architecture for development and management of migration, two themes that will be at the centre of discussion during the UN conference.