The EIB’s Economic Resilience Initiative

The EIB’s Economic Resilience Initiative

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The EIB’s Economic Resilience Initiative

Following a call from the European Council, the European Investment Bank is developing the Economic Resilience Initiative to increase financing to the EU’s neighbouring countries and support the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s). This initiative aims to boost economic resilience in the Southern Neighbourhood and the Western Balkans, also in the context of the migration challenge, by upgrading and developing social and economic infrastructure and stimulating growth and job creation. 

The EU, working together 

The Economic Resilience Initiative forms part of the joined up EU response to the challenges posed by forced displacement and migration, and will be implemented in close cooperation with EU member states and other partners.

To make this initiative a reality, the EIB is building on over three decades of experience supporting projects fostering job creation, sustainable growth, vital infrastructure and social cohesion in eligible countries of the Southern Neighbourhood and the Western Balkans

More information about EIB’s Economic Resilience Initiative in the Q&A and leaflet.

What is the geographical scope of the Economic Resilience Initiative?

Resilience initiative map

Eligible countries are: 

Southern Neighbourhood

Algeria, Egypt, Gaza/West Bank, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya**, Morocco, Syria** and Tunisia

Western Balkans

Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo*, Montenegro and Serbia

Examples of EIB-supported projects that are already making a difference for the people in the Southern Neighbourhood and Western Balkans:


Southern Neighbourhood

Helping create jobs in the Middle East and North Africa

Click to play the videoPlay the video

Combining EIB expertise, venture capital and EU grants, Silicon Badia provides expertise and capital to empower young and female entrepreneurs in the Southern and Eastern Mediterranean region. Amina Al Ramadna is one of them. "When you go to a normal bank they ask for approval from your husband. Here, they looked at the business as a whole,” she explains.

Hope for Syrians

Syrian refugee children in Lebanon study a Cloud-based version of the Lebanese curriculum on $60-tablets. An online education company financed by the EIB is making it happen. Investments like this help Syrian children, whose lives have been disrupted by war, to catch up with some of the studies they may have missed—and also support innovation and job-creating new companies.

Supporting women entrepreneurs in Jordan

For 20 years, the Microfund for Women has provided financing to women across Jordan and helped boost their confidence to engage in business. The first EIB microfinance operation in Jordan, underpinned by EU funding, is helping low-income entrepreneurs with small loans and technical assistance.

Addressing water scarcity

The Wadi Al Arab Water System II project aims to address water scarcity in Jordan, the fourth most water-scarce country in the world, further exacerbated by the significant influx of Syrian refugees in the country. An estimated 1.7 million people will benefit from safe drinking water as a result of this project.

Western Balkans

Cleaner water in Montenegro

A EUR 57 million loan by the EU bank is helping build new water supply systems, sewerage networks and wastewater treatment plants in Montenegro. The project will contribute to raising the country’s water and sewerage infrastructure standards closer to the EU level, reducing public health risks and enhancing the region's attractiveness for tourism.

Supporting small businesses in Kosovo*

An EIB credit line to ProCredit Bank worth EUR 10 million is helping support very small, small and medium sized enterprises in Kosovo*. The agreement aims at building a sustainable private sector in the country.

Serbia: Investing in healthcare

A EUR 200 million EIB loan is helping modernise four major clinical centres in Belgrade, Novi Sad, Nis and Kragujevac. The project includes the design, construction, equipping and implementation of new buildings as well as the rehabilitation of existing facilities. Once completed, the upgraded clinical centres will provide high quality healthcare services to the local population. In 2003, the EIB also supported emergency modernisations in other 20 regional hospitals across the country.

The Economic Resilience Initiative at a glance

What scale of investment is expected under the initiative?

The Economic Resilience Initiative involves a step change in EIB support for the two regions by increasing its financing by EUR 6 billion over a five year period starting from October 2016, in addition to the EUR 7.5 billion of EIB financing already projected for the Southern Neighbourhood and the Western Balkans during this period. The support is expected to translate into substantial impact on the ground and reinforces economic resilience.

The EIB estimates the EUR 6 billion, together with other sources of public and private sector finance, will deliver EUR 15 billion euros of additional investment in the eligible countries of the Southern Neighbourhood and the Western Balkans by 2020. Combined with regular projected activities, this will take the total investment delivered to some EUR 35 billion.

What is the focus of investments?

The Economic Resilience Initiative focuses on both the public and the private sectors, to support:

  • sustainable and vital infrastructure, by investing in services like clean water, energy and electricity, particularly in regions where infrastructure needs were aggravated by migration; but also for example by improving education, healthcare, local transport and urban services 
  • private sector growth, boosting employment opportunities, for example through more support for small businesses and micro-enterprises

The initiative allows the EU bank to accelerate the implementation of ongoing projects, and to provide additional financial and technical support to projects that otherwise would have more difficulty getting off the ground.

Have any investments been approved so far? What impact do you expect?

We have already approved some operations such as a 300 million euro loan to a Jordan-based bank to channel much needed finance to companies in Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco and the West Bank to support growth and sustain approximately 18 000 jobs in those countries.

We have ambitious targets and we want to reach out to even more vulnerable groups and more economically deprived areas.

How will the Economic Resilience Initiative help address the challenges posed by migration and forced displacement?

Over two million refugees are currently hosted in the Southern Neighbourhood, while the Western Balkans have acted as one of the main migratory routes to Europe. The initiative from the EU bank, part of a joined up EU effort, will help to tackle the root causes of migration and contribute to sustainable development by supporting projects with high social and environmental returns. In line with the Bank’s existing activities, investments will strive to generate employment opportunities for young people and women, and support climate action.

In practice, developing economic resilience in host and transit countries means creating jobs and building the infrastructure needed for the local population as well as displaced population. Refugee communities may also benefit, providing them with opportunities to build their self-reliance and live in dignity.

Furthermore, the investments in economic resilience will contribute to improve the preparedness of the regions for future external shocks, and ideally also contribute to enhanced stability in fragile countries.

How does the Economic Resilience Initiative fit into the EU’s efforts to deal with the challenges posed by migration and forced displacement?

The European Union’s External Investment Plan, announced in September 2016, is a new approach to the way the EU supports sustainable development and aims to identify, prepare and deliver support for investment projects in Africa and EU Neighbourhood countries.

The Economic Resilience Initiative by the EIB is complementary to the EU External Investment Plan and should be seen as a first concrete step towards making the plan a reality.

What will the EIB need to carry out this ambitious plan?

The EIB will provide a total of EUR 5.7 billion of own-resources financing to the Economic Resilience Initiative, but in order to implement the plan to its full extent, the EIB would need:

  • adequate guarantee support to cover both political and commercial risks of the EIB lending operations in the eligible countries of the Southern Neighbourhood and Western Balkan regions
  • donor resources, to be used for technical assistance, investment grants and other forms of concessional finance, as well as impact finance

Contributing to the Economic Resilience Initiative

In order to address the common challenges that the EU neighbourhood is facing and to provide the concessional finance needed to implement the ambitious investments included in the Economic Resilience Initiative project pipeline, the EIB is partnering with the international donor community. Funds will be held in a dedicated trust fund, specifically the Economic Resilience Initiative Trust Fund (ERITF).

By contributing to the ERITF, donors can make a direct impact on the lives of migrants and members of the local population in host and transit countries of the Southern Neighbourhood and Western Balkan regions.

"When people can look forward to a dignified and peaceful life in their own countries and are protected from conflicts and natural disasters, they have every incentive to build their future where they really feel at home."
Werner Hoyer, EIB President.

EIB’s Economic Resilience Initiative: green light for first projects

The EIB has already given the green light to the first operations under its Economic Resilience Initiative. One of the first operations is "a 300 million euro loan to a Jordan-based bank to channel much needed finance to companies in Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco and the West Bank to support growth and sustain approximately 18 000 jobs in those countries," said EIB President Werner Hoyer speaking at the EU ministerial conference on "Supporting the Future of Syria and the Region", held in Brussels on 5 April 2017.

President Hoyer's speech

EIB President Hoyer at the 2016 UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants

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Speaking at the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants in October 2016, EIB President Werner Hoyer called for new partnerships to tackle the challenges posed by migration and forced displacement and laid out the EIB’s Economic Resilience Initiative.

* This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence. Hereafter referred to as Kosovo.

** The EIB will start operating in Libya once it has signed a Framework Agreement with the country – currently under preparation. Following EU sanctions in November 2011, the EIB suspended all loan disbursements and technical advisory contracts for projects in Syria.