Lusaka recently welcomed a distinguished assembly of financial leaders, attracting over 100 participants from Southern Africa and the global financial sector. Their primary goal was to foster the exchange of best practices and reinforce impactful private sector financing strategies within the region.
The 7th European Investment Bank (EIB) SME Banking and Microfinance Academy commenced with prominent figures in attendance, including Elias Mubanga MP, Zambian Minister of Small and Medium Enterprise Development; Thomas Östros, Vice President of the European Investment Bank; and Karolina Stasiak, Ambassador-Designate of the European Union (EU) to Zambia and the Common Market for East and Southern Africa (COMESA).
In his opening address, Minister Elias Mubanga MP expressed Zambia’s profound gratitude for the EIB’s unwavering support, particularly in revitalizing the country’s agriculture sector and fostering overall business growth. He emphasized the critical role of collaboration among local, African, and international partners in devising innovative private sector financing solutions, especially during challenging economic times.
Thomas Östros, EIB Vice President, underscored the importance of financial institutions learning from one another to bridge investment gaps and stimulate job creation within the private sector. He reaffirmed the EIB’s commitment to bolstering Africa’s private sector through collaborative efforts with local banks and EU partnerships, with a strong focus on financial innovation and engagement.
Karolina Stasiak, Ambassador-Designate of the European Union to Zambia and COMESA, highlighted the pivotal role of European-Zambian cooperation in advancing sustainable development. She urged a shift towards generating shared benefits for the environment, society, and prosperity by embracing Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) frameworks and Corporate and Social Responsibility (CSR).
The EIB’s SME Banking Academies, previously held across Southern, West, and East Africa, have substantially enhanced the expertise of over 40,000 African financial professionals.
The Southern Africa Small and Medium-sized Enterprise (SME) Banking and Microfinance Academy, jointly organized with the Trade and Development Bank and in collaboration with experts from the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, will delve into strategies for private sector financing.
It will also address critical areas such as climate investment, financial inclusion, empowerment of women, opportunities for youth, and the challenges of trade finance and digitalization.
Over the past decade, the EIB has channeled more than EUR 32 billion into African investments, with Zambia receiving over EUR 1.2 billion for priority sectors such as business, water, energy, and transportation.
The European Investment Bank (EIB) serves as the long-term lending institution of the EU, facilitating finance for sound investments in alignment with EU policy objectives. EIB Global, the specialized arm of the EIB Group, is dedicated to strengthening international partnerships and development finance.
The EU, a union of 27 European nations founded on principles of human dignity, democracy, equality, and respect for human rights, actively promotes sustainable development across societies, environments, and economies.
Global Gateway is the European strategy aimed at enhancing smart, clean, and secure links in digital, energy, and transport sectors, alongside reinforcing health, education, and research systems worldwide. Through a ‘Team Europe approach,’ it brings together the EU, its Member States, and financial and development institutions to mobilize the private sector for transformational investments, aligned with the UN’s Agenda 2030 and the Paris Agreement.