October 26, 2023
EU and Finnfund launch the Africa Connected Programme to mobilise more than €1 billion for Sub-Saharan Africa’s digital infrastructure
At the Global Gateway Forum, European Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, and Finnfund CEO, Jaakko Kangasniemi, have officially signed the Africa Connected Programme, a landmark agreement aimed at mobilizing more than €1 billion in sustainable investments for digital infrastructure and digital service platforms in Sub-Saharan Africa. Finnfund becomes a first-time implementing partner of EFSD+ Guarantees, reinforcing a growing family and optimistic spirit of collaboration among European partners to share solutions, support and skills for our people, planet, prosperity and peace.
Commissioner Urpilainen said: “The European Union’s Global Gateway Strategy is about creating a better future in our partner countries. The EU shares Finnfund’s vision for a greener, more connected, and economically empowered digital future for our partners in sub-Saharan Africa and worldwide. The guarantees presented today will strengthen our partnership with citizens across Africa and our commitment for a more sustainable, connected and prosperous continent, with the EU and worldwide. As Team Europe, bringing together the best EU know-how and resources will allow us to have a bigger and better impact and results for citizens across our partner countries.”
CEO Kangasniemi said: “Digital infrastructure and solutions sector is a priority for Finnfund. We see digitalisation as necessary condition for development and a critical component to meet the sustainable development goals. We are very excited of the signature of the Africa Connected guarantee program with the European Commission. The program will allow us to accelerate investments in impactful digital infrastructure and solutions companies in Africa. In co-operation with the Commission, we will be improving connectivity and usage of digital services in the region. This will, in addition to promoting economic growth, improve living standards and inclusivity through increased access to financial, education and healthcare services. We are very happy to initiate collaboration with the European Commission and contribute to the Global Gateway Strategy.”
Africa Connected’s overarching goal is to create a guarantee capacity of up to €1 billion for both debt and equity operations, supporting Africa’s ambitions for sustainable development and growth in the Sub-Saharan region. This strategic partnership with Finnfund reflects a collective effort to address the pressing needs of the region and promote private investments in commercially viable projects in the least developed and fragile countries.
Key Details of the Africa Connected Programme Guarantee:
- Geographical Focus: Sub-Saharan Africa is the primary beneficiary, with a particular emphasis on Least Developed Countries and fragile states.
- Sectoral Focus: The program targets digital infrastructure providers, including mobile network operators, as well as digital platform businesses.
- Gender Equality: The Africa Connected Programme is committed to achieving G1 status, adhering to the OECD-DAC gender equality policy marker.
The Global Gateway Forum
The Global Gateway Forum brings together an assembly of government representatives from the European Union and across the globe, alongside key stakeholders from the private sector, civil society, thought leaders, financial institutions, and international organisations to promote global investment in infrastructure.
During this landmark occasion, a series of strategic investment announcements and agreements with partner countries are being presented, marking a significant leap towards the implementation of the Global Gateway strategy. These announcements not only underscore the tangible worldwide impact of Global Gateway but also provide a platform for governments and businesses to engage in critical discussions surrounding its priorities.
The Global Gateway Forum highlights a collective commitment to fostering sustainable growth and resilience worldwide through a Team Europe approach.
Global Gateway represents the European Union’s effort reduce the worldwide investment disparity and boost smart, clean and secure connections in digital, energy and transport sectors, and to strengthen health, education and research systems. It provides sustainable investment opportunities to enhance the prosperity and security of our global partners and Europe alike.
The Global Gateway strategy embodies a collaborative approach that brings together the European Union, EU Member States, and European development finance institutions. Together, we aim to mobilize up to €300 billion in public and private investments from 2021 to 2027, creating essential links rather than dependencies, and closing the global investment gap.
Team Europe stands out with a compelling proposition for democratic partner nations, focusing on sustainability across social, environmental, and financial aspects, promoting long-term drivers of growth through a comprehensive 360-degree approach, encompassing both hard and soft infrastructure, and reinforcing the resilience of nations seeking strategic autonomy.
Finnfund is a Finnish development financier and impact investor. We build a sustainable future and generate lasting impact by investing in businesses that solve global development challenges. We invest 200–250 million euros in 20–30 companies in developing countries each year. Our focus sectors include renewable energy, sustainable forestry, sustainable agriculture, financial institutions, and digital infrastructure and solutions. Today Finnfund’s investments, commitments, and investment decisions total about 1.22 billion euros, half of them in Africa. The company has 100 employees based in Helsinki and Nairobi.
Jaakko Kangasniemi, Managing Director, CEO, email@example.com, tel. +358 9 348 434
Kristiina Karjanlahti, Chief Economist, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel. +358 50 525 7081