EDFI recently convened chief executives and shareholders’ representatives of its 15 member institutions, which are bilateral European development finance institutions (DFIs). The EDFI meeting, jointly hosted by BIO and the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, was held on 25 November in a hybrid format under strict sanitary precautions.
The meeting focused on the challenges and opportunities facing the DFI business model, DFI collaboration, and the European DFIs’ contribution as part of “Team Europe”.
European DFIs have continued to invest in private sector enterprises in emerging and developing economies throughout the pandemic despite the significant market challenges. At the same time, they have been adopting a more multi-faceted agenda of economic transformation to guide their financing activities. This has meant a greater focus on impact considerations such as job quality, gender, climate and fragility. As a consequence, many DFIs are pursuing innovations in their business practices and adding new expertise and instruments to support their clients.
“It is especially crucial for the European DFIs to have a close strategic dialogue with our shareholders during a period of great difficulty. We were able to reflect on how our institutions evolve to respond effectively to the pandemic, and how DFIs can act collectively to tackle crucial challenges such as fragility in Africa, climate action and gender inequality“, said Bruno Wenn, EDFI’s Chairman.
Collaboration among European DFIs has continued to grow during the pandemic and helped the institutions achieve their investment objectives based on complementary expertise, networks and capacities. This approach also represents an important example for the mobilisation of private co-finance that will be crucial to achieve the SDGs and objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement.
“These are turbulent times for DFIs and the private sector enterprises we finance in emerging and developing countries. The close collaboration among European DFIs enable us to go much further in our efforts to serve our clients. The meeting offered a very valuable opportunity to explore new avenues of innovation and joint initiatives that will contribute to a more sustainable and inclusive recovery”, said Luuk Zonneveld, CEO of BIO, the Belgian DFI and co-host of the meeting.
Contribution to Team Europe
The meeting also explored how European DFIs will contribute within “Team Europe”’s offering to partner countries. The EU’s recent Global Gateway plan highlighted the use of innovative instruments such as EFSD+ for de-risking activities and mobilising private investment. European DFIs plan to be key partners in implementing these with a particular focus on financing in Africa and support for climate action.