The Minister, Deputy Head of Delegation, European Union Delegation to Nigeria and Economic Community of West African States, Richard Young has disclosed that Nigeria along other African countries will benefit from €2.6 billion European Fund for Sustainable Development (EFSD).
How Nigeria will be a beneficiary
The funds which are existing grants that have been refocused towards meeting the objectives of the European External Investment Plan (EIP), would be released to two regional investment platforms, which include the African Investment Platform (AIP) and Neighbourhood Investment Platform (NIP).
The EFSD will contain two ‘blending’ facilities, which will provide grants to improve the conditions under which public institutions and the private sector working with International Financial Institutions (IFIs) can borrow for investment purposes.
While speaking at a media conference to announce its seventh EU-Nigeria business forum, Young noted that European Commission launched an ambitious EIP with a new approach to support sustainable development, identifies, prepares and delivers support for investment projects in countries outside Europe.
The approach, according to Young, would improve the way scarce public funds are used and the way public authorities and private investors cooperate on investment projects.
Young expressed optimism that the funds will be used to support the reforms needed to improve economic governance and local business environments in full cooperation with the partner countries concerned.
The creation of the EFSD was announced in a June 2016 European Commission communication, on the partnership framework for cooperation with third countries.
Given the scale of challenges and funding needs, the Commission proposed a new EIP package in September 2016. This was to scale up private sector involvement in socio-economic development in partner countries.
The proposed EIP focuses on technical assistance to support local partners prepare projects that are sustainable and attractive to investors, and on steps to improve the business environment and economic governance in the partner countries.