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Innovation, strategic focus frame 2024 EDFI AGM


Europe’s DFIs agree new strategic path, elect new Board, and explore new and more impact-focused ways to further unleash development finance

BRUSSELS, 28 May 2024 – European Development Finance Institutions’ (DFIs) central role within the global development architecture and the EDFI Association will stay focused on the new priorities to keep the DFIs positioned for further impact and innovation. That was the conclusion at this year’s EDFI Annual Meeting held in Oslo from 22 to 24 May.

Hosted by Norfund. the conference explored the future of finance for development in a world as where DFIs are driven to maintain efforts towards the development agenda amidst external pressures and a shifting political landscape.

EDFI Strategy 2024-2027 moves ahead

The Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the 15 EDFI Association member DFIs approved on Day 1 the EDFI Strategy 2024-2027, which aims to further deepen European DFI collaboration to strengthen operational efficiency and impact effectiveness and their collective private-capital mobilisation potential. To help achieve those aims, they look to  improve and focus on partnerships, with the European Union in particular.

EDFI Board Chair Luuk Zonneveld said: “This three-pillar strategy gives us the focus to navigate a volatile world and strengthen the leading voice of European DFIs in development finance across the globe. An aspect of the strategy is that it drives the Association to focus on a small number of priorities which matter to all institutions.”

The new strategy builds on the record-breaking rise in European DFI investing in 2023, with €9.6 billion in new investments and a total investment portfolio of €53 billion. Noteworthy is the 16% rise in new financing in climate mitigation and adaptation, to €3.6 billion, and the 37% year-on-year increase in investments with a gender lens, to €2.3 billion.

Improving international regulatory frameworks

Central in the discussion on strategy implementing was the need to advocate for improved international regulatory frameworks which help, not hamper development finance. The DFIs strongly support regulations conducive to investments that contribute to achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) across the globe. Given this, DFIs will work together to harness their collective mobilising power to increase private finance for sustainable development in developing countries. To help get there, EDFI intends to work with EU institutions to continue developing and improving the regulatory framework.

Partnerships at EU and global levels

Engagement by DFIs with the European Union will be led by the principles of mutual advantage and alignment of purpose. DFIs will seek to deepen their strategic partnership with the European Union. EDFI members foresee an enhanced active participation and visibility within the EU Global Gateway strategy.

At global level, DFIs will invest in strengthening their partnerships with major actors in the global development finance architecture, in particular with DFIs across the Atlantic: DFC in the United States and FinDev Canada, as well as with  IFC, EBRD, EIB, and other multilateral development banks. Global partnerships will help position DFIs at platforms and conferences like G7 and the UN Financing for Development. Collaboration with regional Multilateral Development Banks and development agencies will emphasise fragile contexts.

Appointments to the EDFI Board of Directors

The European DFIs  also appointed the  Board of Directors of their association, consisting of CEOs of member institutions and a Chairperson serving in an individual capacity. Two new directors were appointed: Michael Jongeneel, CEO, FMO, and Tellef Thorleifsson, CEO, Norfund. Outgoing board members Maria Håkansson, CEO of Swedfund, and BII CEO Nick O’Donohoe were thanked for their service on the Board.

The EDFI Board for the coming year comprises the following members: Luuk Zonneveld, Board Chair; Antonella Baldino, Chief International Development Finance Officer, CDP; Michael Jongeneel, CEO, FMO; Françoise Lombard, CEO, Proparco; Roland Siller, CEO, DEG; and Tellef Thorleifsson, CEO, Norfund.

Strategic alignment of DFIs and their shareholders

Participants in the EDFI AGM included the representatives of the public shareholders of the European DFIs. They first met separately, and then together with the DFIs’ chief executive officers. The representatives and the CEOs confirmed their strategic alignment on investing for development impact in the world’s poorest places, and on creating and developing the conditions for private entrepreneurship to thrive. DFI CEOs encouraged their government owners to work with their counterparts in the investment target countries to improve the conditions for investing in infrastructure, financial institutions, and private enterprise.

EU Instruments: EFSD+ guarantees prove vital

Discussion flowed on the effectiveness of guarantees in fragile contexts and the need for improved coordination with Team Europe actors and EU Delegations. The EFSD+ guarantees are vital, and the strategy addresses the sense of urgency among DFIs to speed up their deployment.

Proparco CEO Françoise Lombard, who welcomed to the next EDFI Annual Meeting in France in May 2025, highlighted the challenges and opportunities of sustainable finance regulations and European EFSD+ guarantees to promote investing “in the hardest places”.

A turbulent world calls for more DFI ambition

Keynote speaker Jan Egeland from the Norwegian Refugee Council emphasised the key role DFIs can play in restoring lives and livelihoods during and after conflict. He called on the DFIs and their shareholders ensure DFIs continued local presence and investing in spite of the serious difficulties and high risks.

Dino Setiawan of the Indonesian FinTech company AwanTunai, and several other DFI investment clients, called on DFIs to focus more on delivering development impact and be more flexible on administrative and reporting tasks by start-ups and micro-businesses.

In his keynote remarks, EDFI Chair Luuk Zonneveld concurred. He remarked that in today’s turbulent world, finance for development is more important than ever – and in particular, upholding and furthering the values and principles that are held in high esteem in the Western world: the Universal human rights, solidarity, freedom, and democracy. Quoting Antonella Baldino, the CEO of the Italian DFI CDP, Zonneveld stressed EDFI as an association of DFIs with a European DNA and a global focus.

DEG CEO Roland Siller closed out the 2024 EDFI Annual Meeting, saying: “The high percentage of DFI co-investment – for DEG it is over 70% – is testimony to the trust among DFIs and to the joint commitment to tackling common challenges, as not discussions and decisions, but ultimately, execution and impact are king.”


The EDFI Annual Meeting was followed by the annual conference of Norfund, the Norwegian DFI. On Tuesday, 25 June, EDFI holds its annual reception in Brussels, starting at 17:30 Brussels time.
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The next EDFI Annual Meeting with shareholders and partners will take place in May 2025 in France.


Notes to editors:

About EDFI: The Association of European Development Finance Institutions, or EDFI, was established in 1992 to support and promote the work of bilateral Development Finance Institutions (DFIs). With a combined portfolio of €53 billion, including over €15 billion of climate finance, EDFI’s 15 member institutions share a vision of a world where the private sector offers people in low- and middle-income countries opportunities for decent work and improved lives, and where private investment flows are aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement. EDFI’s mission is to promote the joint interests of its members, inform policy, and drive innovation in industry standards.

EDFI membership: BII (United Kingdom), BIO (Belgium), Cofides (Spain), DEG (Germany), Finnfund (Finland), FMO (The Netherlands), IFU  (Denmark), Norfund (Norway), OeEB (Austria), Proparco (France), SIFEM (Switzerland), Simest and CDP Development Finance (Italy), SOFID (Portugal), Swedfund (Sweden).