JOHANNESBURG –The European Investment Bank agreed €3.3 billion of new financing for private sector and infrastructure investment in 20 African countries in 2018, its largest engagement on the continent since 1965, it said on Monday.

Addressing the African Union summit in Addis Ababa, European Investment Bank (EIB) president Werner Hoyer said discussions with African leaders would help to strengthen the impact of the bank's investments across the continent in the years ahead.

"Africa needs good partners. The close cooperation between the European Investment Bank, the EU Bank, and African partners enabled record activity last year with €3.3 billon of EIB new investment that will benefit projects across the continent," Hoyer said.

"The EIB is strengthening its cooperation with African and international partners to support digital transformation and the reduction of the gender digital divide across the continent."

Last year the EIB provided more than €1.14 billion for private sector investment in Africa, including support for industrial investment in Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Nigeria and new financing for business investment through credit lines with local banks in North, West, East and southern Africa.

This included targeted financing to enhance financing available for female entrepreneurs in Ethiopia and backing dedicated lending for climate-related investment.

Millions of people across Africa are expected to benefit from new EIB backed investment in solar power, off-grid renewables and interconnectors to distribute clean energy to unconnected areas.

The EIB has agreed more than €48 billion of investment across Africa since 1965. 

African News Agency (ANA)