The European Investment Bank (EIB) has for the first time signed a loan agreement with the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), providing a €100mn facility to finance trade-related investments and projects in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The seven-year loan will support “African promoters carrying out small and medium-sized long-term investments with favourable financial terms”, according to the EIB. It will benefit projects in the more than 40 countries across Africa where Afreximbank operates.

Apart from enhancing intra-African trade, the EIB expects the facility to boost African trade with the European Union.

The deal was signed yesterday in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire’s capital, and is part of a wider series of initiatives and agreements announced by the EIB ahead of the African Union-European Union Summit, an institutional framework established to discuss the future of relationships between the two continents.

EIB’s vice-president responsible for development, Ambroise Fayolle, comments: “Both the EIB and our African partners share the strategic objective of supporting the private sector with a particular focus on trade and trade-related infrastructure. This agreement will help develop EU-African trade relations and, crucially, provide much-needed jobs across the continent.”

Afreximbank’s president Benedict Oramah notes that the facility adds “strong impetus” to the bank’s drive for intra-African trade and the promotion of export development across Africa.

“We are delighted that the EIB has chosen to partner with us in the pursuit of Africa’s trade development and we are confident that, with the facility, we can look forward to mutually beneficial development outcomes to the further strengthening of the relationship between Africa and Europe,” he says.

The EIB has been active as an investment bank in Africa since 1963. Over the last five years, the bank has provided more than €11.4bn for new infrastructure and private sector investment across the continent.