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The European Investment Bank stretches beyond its borders

The bank is embracing the UN’s New Urban Agenda. As highlighted here from a quintet of projects from Africa and Latin America, it has been doing so for some time
Before financing the cleanup of Panama Bay, the project had to comply with the environmental and social principles of the EU and the EIB
Photo: Jim Baikovicius

The European Investment Bank (EIB) is known for its work in Europe–the clue is in the name. Ninety percent of its financing is for projects in the European Union (EU), but the 10 percent of finance being provided beyond its borders is still worth €8 billion a year.

The bank, its board and external shareholders are debating whether to raise that 10 percent. In part, this is due to the refugee crisis. The migration issues highlighted by the 2016 Pact of Amsterdam are global. The Pact formalised the EIB’s role in the European Union Urban Agenda, which directly addresses the problems of sustainable community development. But the bank fulfills this role already– inside the EU and outside, contributing to the Sustainable Development Goals highlighted under the global UN Habitat New Urban Agenda.

The EIB isn’t short of projects that show its commitment to these goals and policies. It could point to work with the African Development Bank on the Shelter Afrique project for evidence of its cooperation with other multilateral development banks (MDBs) in providing affordable housing. It could single out its collaboration with CAF, the Development Bank of Latin America, in Panama or in Quito on water services and sustainable mobility projects. For the key urban agenda theme of increased grant-loan blending, the EIB could point to its co-financing with the European Commission and AFD, the French Development Agency, to upgrade informal settlements in Tunisia. Evidence of its emphasis on boosting local knowledge through technical assistance and strategy development is seen in any one of these projects.

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