European Investment Bank jets in

HARARE - European Investment Bank (EIB) officials arrived in Zimbabwe on Monday for a week-long mission to assess funding opportunities in the country’s struggling industry.

This comes on the back of Zimbabwean industry and businesses struggling to access lines of credit.

The EIB, in collaboration with the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce (ZNCC), has invited business leaders in the country for a debrief investment meeting on February 1, with a view to re-engage with the private sector.

“The purpose of this initial mission is to gather as much information as possible on the economy and its appetite for funding and this will inform EIB’s decision-making process,” said a ZNCC official.

“This preliminary assessment will cover a number of areas among them the current state of industry as well as challenges and opportunities. With this information, the EIB will be in a position to identify potential gaps and find possible best ways to intervene in the private sector,” the official added.

At the meeting, to be held in Harare, the EIB will be represented by Rasmus Lauridsen (senior investment officer, responsible for Zimbabwe), Barbara Marchitto (senior economist responsible for the Sadc region) and Nathaniel Munetsi (business analyst for the southern African region).

Notwithstanding its engagement of the EIB, ZNCC is currently planning to strengthen the private sector, initially targeting small to medium scale enterprises using selected financial intermediaries in the country, with prospects of establishing lines of credit with a number of banks.

The EIB is the long-term lending arm of the European Union and a key partner of the International Financial Corporation (IFC).

IFC and EIB co-invest in many projects around the world and developed a particularly strong partnership during the 2008 financial crisis.

The two, partnered on the Joint IFI Action Plans for Africa, the Caribbean, and Eastern and Central Europe that were developed to tackle region-specific challenges brought about as a result of the crisis. - Business Writer

EIB and IFC, along with other partners, also established the Microfinance Enhancement Facility to help fundamentally sound microfinance institutions which faced severe credit constraints in the wake of the 2008 crisis.

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