The signing of facility agreement with European Investment Bank: REMARKS BY EADB DIRECTOR GENERAL, VIVIENNE YEDA, JUNE 27 2013, LAICO REGENCY HOTEL, NAIROBI KENYA
Vice President of European Investment Bank, Mr. Pim van Ballekom,
Ladies and gentlemen
Please allow me on behalf of the East African Development Bank to express my appreciation on the signing of a line of credit of EUR 25 million between our two institutions.
This ceremony underscores the long standing and mutually beneficial relationship between EADB and EIB. I want to take this opportunity to thank Mr Pim van Ballekom for the work that the EIB is doing with our Bank to support business enterprises in East Africa.
I also wish to record my appreciation to staff and guests who have found time to be with us today.
Granted, under the Cotonou Investment Facility Resources, the line of credit will be used to part-finance projects implemented by private sector enterprises, and commercially run public-owned entities in agriculture, agro-processing, fishing, manufacturing, construction, tourism and transport sectors, or education and healthcare services located in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Rwanda.
The facility also has a Technical Assistance component to support the institutional strengthening of the Bank’s risk management and internal control framework.
EADB fully appreciates the timely support, which will go a long way in helping us realise our sustainable development objectives among our member states.
I am deeply appreciative of the leadership of our member countries, Uganda,Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda who have continued to offer unwavering support to the Bank while creating a favourable policy environment for EADB to perform its functions efficiently and effectively.
In a time of economic instability in many parts of the world, our region is enjoying relative stability in the financial sector. The past two decades have seen a seismic shift in Africa’s economic fortunes. The days of super hyperinflation and unsustainable debt are now behind us.
In goes without question that East Africa is rich in natural resources, there is an increasing and deepening interest in this region by major international investors. FDI and portfolio flows remain robust, new markets are being developed for exports and there is significant growth in regional and intra-African trade.
Fundamentally, our most important asset remains our people. We are a population upwards of 140 million which is developing a strong retail demand. These people through education, hard work and innovation, are poised to take this region and Africa to the next level.
What remains is the work of fully integrating our economies. Strides are being made by EAC Partner States in facilitating the private sector, enabling them to produce efficiently and access markets in a timely fashion. Towards this end, I am pleased that the facility we are signing with EIB today will enable private sector enterprises, particularly SMEs that are innovative and sustainable to access affordable credit. This way, we can create more jobs, attract more investments, protect our environment for posterity and compete with other players on the international stage.
My next point is closely related to the latter and a big challenge, both to governments and the private sector. It relates to social sustainability and inclusion. As you are aware, inclusive growth is a key pillar of economic and social stability.
We are fortunate to have so many educated young people who are potential entrepreneurs. However, many of them don’t know how to start, let alone, operate a business. There are thousands of young men and women who could be great entrepreneurs in future but whose potential may never be realised due to lack of training and resources. This is energy that should be channeled to developing our region and our continent.
It is important that entrepreneurship and apprenticeship becomes part and parcel of our education systems. The School curriculum should be set in the context of owning and operating a business and not only focused on preparing youth for employment. We should equip the youth with skills for the future and not the past.
It is with these considerations in mind that the facility signed between the EIB and the EADB will be used in promoting business in job creating sectors like manufacturing, hospitality , education, transport and agriculture in particular; we expect that jobs will be created and a many SMEs will benefit from these resources.
However, as a regional institution, we cannot do it alone. That is why we need strong partners like the EIB to work with us in these endeavors.
Before I conclude my remarks, Mr. Vice President , ladies and gentlemen, let me reiterate EADB’s commitment to ensure and facilitate sustainable development of our region. We shall continue to be an active player in development financing. More importantly, we shall remain a caring and listening partner.
I thank you for your kind attention.