Luxembourg Increases Pledge to Financial Inclusion Fund, Expanding Support for Vulnerable Groups

Luxembourg Increases Pledge to Financial Inclusion Fund, Expanding Support for Vulnerable Groups

(IN BRIEF) Luxembourg has pledged an additional €4.8 million to the EIB Global’s Financial Inclusion Fund, bringing the fund’s total size to €11.5 million. The fund supports financial service providers that focus on vulnerable groups in African, Caribbean, and Pacific countries. It aims to strengthen the capacity of microfinance institutions and reach disadvantaged populations, contributing to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. The fund has already provided grants for various inclusive finance projects, including connecting microentrepreneurs with funding, empowering female business owners, and offering savings accounts. Future projects will focus on women’s economic empowerment, climate action, environmental sustainability, and digitalization in underdeveloped countries.

(PRESS RELEASE) LUXEMBOURG, 20-Jul-2023 — /EuropaWire/ — The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, represented by Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs Franz Fayot, and Minister of Finance Yuriko Backes, has pledged an additional €4.8 million to EIB Global’s Financial Inclusion Fund, bringing the fund’s total size to €11.5 million. The contribution agreement was signed on 18 July 2023 at the EIB headquarters in Luxembourg.

The Financial Inclusion Fund will continue providing support to financial service providers that focus on vulnerable groups such as young people, women and rural populations in African, Caribbean and Pacific countries. The fund was launched in 2019 to continue the long-standing partnership between the EIB and the Luxembourg Ministries of Finance and Foreign and European Affairs in the area of microfinance.

The Financial Inclusion Fund seeks to strengthen the capacity of the EIB’s existing and prospective microfinance counterparts and reach out to typically disadvantaged groups of the population. Its efforts are helping to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, notably targeting SDG 1 (No Poverty), SDG 5 (Gender Equality) and SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth).

Since its inception, the fund has provided 32 capacity-building grants to a range of inclusive finance stakeholders in 25 countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific as well as in the EU Southern Neighbourhood. These grants have been used for a variety of projects, from connecting microentrepreneurs and small businesses with funding via digital platforms, to empowering female business owners, improving processes for loan applications and for releasing funds, and offering savings accounts to make clients more resilient to different types of market shocks.

The fund’s ongoing operations are expected to achieve further impressive results. Some examples include training or coaching over 130 000 staff members and clients of microfinance institutions in the targeted regions, providing access to finance to 600 000 people in remote and rural parts of Zambia, rolling out digital banking services to thousands of people in sub-Saharan Africa, and enabling 200 000 female microentrepreneurs to access and use financial products.

Future projects made possible thanks to the contribution signed today will focus on promoting the economic empowerment of women (50% of projects will be aimed at gender and social inclusion), encouraging climate action and environmental sustainability by supporting sustainable agriculture, and advancing digitalisation in the world’s least developed and low- and middle-income countries.

EIB President Werner Hoyer said: “Finance is a critical enabler of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. To accelerate progress, we need more innovative models, particularly in the areas of women’s empowerment and climate action. The Financial Inclusion Fund is a powerful tool that allows the European Investment Bank to provide crucial support to microfinance institutions around the world and to deliver development impact. I am grateful for the long-standing support of the Luxembourg government in this field. The Financial Inclusion Fund is a testament to our shared commitment to using finance to achieve the SDGs.”

Yuriko Backes, Luxembourg Minister of Finance and EIB governor said: “With a contribution of €4.8 million to the Financial Inclusion Fund, Luxembourg aims to support meaningful action to foster economic empowerment and improve the lives of individuals and communities worldwide. Building upon our previous efforts, we will continue to prioritise the delivery of technical assistance through the fund, targeting key areas crucial for sustainable development, such as women’s empowerment and gender equality, climate and environmental protection, and digitalisation and food security, among others. This renewed contribution serves as another testament to the strong collaboration between Luxembourg and the European Investment Bank in driving finance for change, further solidifying our commitment to creating positive and lasting impact.”

Franz Fayot, Luxembourg Minister for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Affairs said: “Providing formal financial services in a socially responsible and financially sustainable way can make a substantial contribution to poverty reduction and job creation in low- and middle-income countries. Yet, the lack of accessible and affordable financial services, particularly in remote rural areas, remains a major challenge. In this regard, the Financial Inclusion Fund is a key instrument to help overcome barriers to accessing impactful financial services. Its activities are making a considerable contribution towards achieving the SDGs.”

EIB Vice President Kris Peeters said: “Luxembourg is a key partner for the EIB and one of the largest donors to EIB Trust Funds, in a wide range of areas, such as financial inclusion, as well as climate action, economic resilience and infrastructure. Our joint collaboration under the Financial Inclusion Fund is delivering concrete results on the ground, helping thousands of vulnerable people who lack access to finance. The additional contribution from Luxembourg to the FIF is an occasion to celebrate its success so far, and of course aim higher, to do more and better, ensuring a better future for marginalised groups including women”

Background information:

About EIB Global

EIB Global is the arm of the EIB Group devoted to increasing the impact of international partnerships and development finance. It is designed to foster strong, focused partnership within Team Europe, alongside fellow development finance institutions and civil society. EIB Global brings the Group closer to local people, companies and institutions through our offices across the world.

EIB Global works with donors to create trust funds and provide in-depth support for meaningful projects across the world through technical assistance, grants and loan guarantees. EIB Global manages ten trust funds financed by our donors (currently 24 EU countries, the European Commission and the United Kingdom).

See the publication Trust Funds in Action for an up-to-date overview of our range of trust funds and an explanation of how we work together with our partners to go the extra mile.

About the Financial Inclusion Fund

The Financial Inclusion Fund is a partnership initiative between the EIB and the Luxembourg government. This innovative fund is designed to increase financial inclusion and provide greater access to responsible finance for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in emerging and developing economies. By promoting sustainable economic development and empowering entrepreneurs, it has the potential to create positive change and transform communities. The fund has already financed over 30 capacity-building grants as well as a traineeship programme for 60 students from Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. For an overview of the fund, see this publication and video. To find out more about what impact it has had, watch the stories of Justyna, Najia and Avi Mali

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SOURCE: European Investment Bank


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