July 21, 2024

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European Investment Bank Officials Arrive in Uganda

A delegation representing the European Investment Bank (EIB) is on a week-long visit to Uganda to discuss a pipeline of investment opportunities in the country with key stakeholders, Chimp Corps report.

The delegation is visiting various ministries and development partners operating in the country.

Led by the Head of the EIB Regional Hub for Eastern Africa, Edward Claessen, the delegation is paying courtesy visits to the ministries of water, transport, energy, housing, finance, and justice.

Officials said the EIB is keen to grow its investment portfolio in the country to support the European Union’s Global Gateway initiative of providing long-term financing and tackling investment gaps to accelerate high-impact projects that contribute to delivering sustainable development and are technically, socially, and environmentally sound.

The trip will possibly breathe new life into Uganda’s strained relations with European countries over its stance on homosexuality and opposition politics.

The European Union recently threatened to slap sanctions on Uganda and even have many international companies leave the East African country over the anti-homosexuality bill.

European countries have also heavily criticised Uganda’s handling of dissent, accusing senior security officials of committing human rights violations.

President Museveni has since criticised European groups for supporting opposition leaders in Uganda to cause regime change.

Speaking during the visit, the EIB’s Edward Claessen said, “Uganda has enormous potential but faces huge investment needs. These have been worsened by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the energy and inflation shocks triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”

Edward said, “The Ugandan government requires the support of partners such as the EU and the EIB for economic recovery, sustained growth, job creation, funding, and investment.”

On his part, the EU Ambassador to Uganda, Jan Sadek, welcomed the visit of the delegation from the European Investment Bank (EIB).

He pointed to the important role that the EIB, as part of #TeamEurope, plays in fostering sustainable growth in Uganda.

“The European Union’s cooperation with Uganda aims to respond to the country’s most pressing needs by supporting sustainable development through sound economic policies and good governance,” he said.

To date, the EIB has provided over EUR 498 million (Shs 2 trillion) to Uganda through the financing of 31 projects primarily in support of private sector businesses in energy, water, sewerage, transport, industry, telecom, services, agriculture, fisheries, and forestry.

(From left) The EIB Country Representative for Uganda, Anthony Githua, Commissioner for Policy and Planning in Uganda’s Ministry of Works and Transport, Richard Ndiku, Head of the EIB Regional Hub for Eastern Africa, Edward Claessen, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Works and Transport in Uganda, Bageya Waiswa, EIB Representative for Public Sector Investment in Sub Saharan Africa, Christian Elias and EIB Projects Directorate Representative, Jan Willem Lohr during a courtesy visit.

Some notable ones include the Eastern Africa Transport Corridor project, the Bujagali Hydroelectric Project, and the Lake Victoria Water and Sanitation Project in Kampala.

EIB said its priority activities in Uganda address key challenges such as supporting climate adaptation and mitigation projects that build the resilience of vulnerable communities and improving access to finance, especially for SMEs and microfinance.

Apart from its public sector lending to governments, the EIB said it recognised that strong financial intermediaries are key to addressing market challenges and suboptimal investment situations.

EIB Global said it is building on its many years of experience and partnership with banks, microfinance institutions, and equity funds by supporting their efforts to innovate and enhance the scope and inclusiveness of their outreach. It also considers non-banking financial institutions, such as guarantee funds, leasing companies, or fintechs, that have a financial model to enable greater outreach to underserved smaller businesses.

The EIB said that in partnership with the various financial institutions in Uganda, it has provided over EUR 203 million (Shs 815 billion) so far to support private sector businesses, targeting agriculture and gender thematic sectors.

“Accompanying technical assistance was also offered to these banks or microfinance institutions and their clients across a wide range of topics, including risk management, product development, environmental and social assessment, and financial literacy, among others,” said the EIB in a statement to ChimpReports on Thursday afternoon.

The EIB has been increasing its investments in Africa, with project investment on the continent accounting for nearly 40% of all investment outside the European Union.