Speaking at the 5th African Union – European Union summit in Abidjan today, Werner Hoyer, the President of the European Investment Bank, urged delegates to allow young people in Africa to realise their ambitions by investing in innovation and entrepreneurship.

Addressing the summit he said: “The remarkable opportunity that is Africa can only be only realized when the young have the means to access education, skills, health and the chance to channel all that into a productive future. African young people have ambitions. There is a shared will on all sides here today to help make this opportunity into reality by investing in Africa’s future.”

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He added: “The EIB is becoming a significant partner in risk capital and actually today we have signed 8 operations in all African countries including operations which have an innovative structure with a strong impact. In addition we are supporting Boost Africa with the African Development Bank and the European Commission. It is an exciting initiative that supports promising young entrepreneurs and start-ups, crowding in private investment and creating new and quality jobs for young Africans. To do this, we need to target new technologies and digitalisation to bring new opportunities in terms of education, health and access to finance and access to trade, ultimately, using technology as a facilitator for development and inclusion. At EIB we especially target the inclusion of young people and women and girls.”

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The European Investment Bank (EIB) is the long-term lending institution of the European Union owned by its Member States. It is the world’s largest international public bank. It makes long-term finance available for sound investment in order to contribute towards EU policy goals. The EIB has been active as an investment bank in Africa since 1963 with around EUR 25 billion invested in more than 1300 private and public sector projects – all in the delivery of the EU’s policy goals. Over the last five years the EIB has provided more than EUR 11.4 billion for new infrastructure and private sector investment across Africa.

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