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FAQ

What is the EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund?

How is the EU-AITF governed?

In which countries is the EU-AITF active?

Which sectors are eligible for EU-AITF financing?

Which kind of projects can benefit from an EU-AITF grant?

What kind of grant support can the EU-AITF provide?

What is the procedure for obtaining a grant from the EU-AITF?

If a project is deemed suitable for an EU-AITF Grant, what happens next?

Which procurement rules apply to EU-AITF funded projects?

How can I reach the EU-AITF Secretariat?

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What is the EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund?

The EU-Africa Infrastructure Trust Fund (EU-AITF) is an instrument of the wider EU-Africa Infrastructure Partnership. The EU-AITF aims to increase investment in infrastructure in Africa by blending long term loan financing with grant resources from the European Commission and EU Member States. Technical and lending capacities are provided by EU development finance institutions, as well as the African Development Bank, on the basis of African ownership.

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How is the EU-AITF governed?

Governance structure:

EU-Africa Infrastructure Partnership Steering Committee:
• Ensures strategic guidance and consistency with other African and multi stakeholder initiatives.


The EU-AITF Executive Committee:
• Governing body, composed of the Donors to the EU-AITF.
• Approves all grant operations.
• Overall responsibility/monitoring of performance.

Project Financiers Group:
• Composed of development finance institutions nominated by one of the Donors.
• Body with international development project expertise.
• Submits projects to the Executive Committee for approval of grants.
• Transfers the advantageous conditions to the project promoter(s).

The EU-AITF Secretariat, housed at the EIB:
• Assists the Executive Committee.

The EU-AITF Manager (the EIB):
• In charge of the financial management of the EU-AITF.
• Disbursements and internal control, treasury, accounting, etc.

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In which countries is the EU-AITF active?

For a list of eligible African countries, please click here.


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Which sectors are eligible for EU-AITF financing?

Energy: geothermal, hydropower, biomass, solar and wind power plants, transmission lines, sustainable cooking fuels, etc.
Transport: road and railway networks, ports, maritime and river routes, air transport, etc.
Water: water supply, treatment and sanitation plants, etc.
Information and communication technologies (ICT): submarine internet cables, satellite-based infrastructure, etc.

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Which kind of projects can benefit from an EU-AITF grant?

The EU-AITF is an instrument for supporting infrastructure projects.

The EU-AITF eligibility criteria include:

  • Project contribution to poverty reduction;
  • Project contribution to economic development and trade;
  • Economic viability of the project;
  • Environmental viability of the project and mitigation of potential impacts;
  • Provisions for the project / infrastructure's sustainable operation and maintenance;
  • Projects may be implemented by public or private entities or entities with mixed public-private capital
  • For operations in the context of the “Sustainable Energy for All-Initiative” priority will be given to projects providing increased access to modern, affordable and sustainable energy services.
  • Projects must be trans-border infrastructure projects or national projects with a demonstrable regional impact on two or more countries or national projects in the context of the "Sustainable Energy for All" initiative, aligned to the partners' national policies, and, where applicable, to regional policies and/or plans.

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What kind of grant support can the EU-AITF provide?

The EU-AITF can provide four types of grant support:

Technical assistance for preparatory work like feasibility studies, Environmental and Social Impact Assessments, Resettlement Action Plans, etc., for project supervision, and also for targeted capacity building such as reinforcing the technical and administrative capacity of local staff in Africa.

Interest rate subsidies to enable EU-AITF Financiers to make long-term loan finance available in flexible ways in order to reduce the total amount of debt service. Such subsidies allow the final financing package to achieve the level of concessionality required by debt sustainability programmes of e.g. the World Bank or the IMF.

Investment Grants are non-reimbursable contributions to finance tangible or intangible project components with the aim to decrease the total investment costs or to increase the concessionality level of the financing package of a project. Investment grants can also target the financing of specific project components which have substantial demonstrable social or environmental benefits or which can mitigate negative environmental or social impacts.

Financial Instruments comprise, but are not limited to, guarantees, loan guarantee cost financing, insurance premia, equity or quasi-equity investments or participations and risk-sharing instruments.

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What is the procedure for obtaining a grant from the EU-AITF?

As a blending instrument, EU-AITF grants are granted alongside long-term financing from a selected development finance institutions (the “Financiers”, together the “Project Financiers Group” - PFG, see the list of EU-AITF eligible Financiers). Only the EU-AITF Financiers are entitled to submit grant requests.

Project promoters should therefore approach one of the EU-AITF Financiers with their project proposals. If interested, the Financier will discuss the proposal with the other Financiers. As a group the Financiers form an opinion regarding the eligibility of the project. If the opinion is positive, the grant application can be submitted to the group of EU-AITF Donors (the EU-AITF Executive Committee).

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If a project is deemed suitable for an EU-AITF Grant, what happens next?

Steps and approximate timing for submitting an EU-AITF grant request

The EU-AITF is a blending instrument: the grants offered by the EU-AITF must be combined with long-term financing from the EU-AITF Financiers. Only the Financiers are entitled to submit grant requests.

Step 1

The possibility of allocating an EU-AITF grant to a given infrastructure investment must first be reviewed by the group of EU-AITF Financiers (PFG): one (or several) Financier(s) will prepare the so-called Application Form in which the project and the proposed grant support are described in detail.

Step 2

After a positive assessment of the proposed grant amount and type as well as of the eligibility of the given infrastructure project, the PFG will recommend the requested grant to the EU-AITF Executive Committee.

Step 3

The EU-AITF Executive Committee (the group of Donors to the EU-AITF and the its decision making body) decides on the eligibility of the grant-loan blended investment project and approves or rejects the grant request. Each approved grant operation will be implemented under the lead and responsibility of one of the EU-AITF Financiers (the Lead Financier).

Step 4

After approval by the EU-AITF Executive Committee, the Lead Financier may proceed with the relevant contractual arrangements (finance contract, consultancy/service contract, grant agreement, etc.). As for public tendering of goods, works and services, the Lead Financier’s own procurements rules will apply.

Step 5

After signature of the contractual documents, the Lead Financier can request a transfer of the EU-AITF grant monies (full grant amount or in tranches).

Timing

On average a grant application takes approximately 2-3 months between first PFG discussions and Executive Committee approval. A request for transfer of funds from the EU-AITF to the Lead Financier is usually processed by the EU-AITF Manager (the EIB) within 10 working days.

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Which procurement rules apply to EU-AITF funded projects?

The EU-AITF Financier who is in the lead of a project shall ensure that all assets and services are procured in compliance with its own procurement rules and procedures.  Procurement rules must conform to internationally accepted standards and to the principles of transparency and equal treatment for potential contractors. 

Link to Procurement page.

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How can I reach the EU-AITF Secretariat?

The EU-AITF Secretariat is located in the offices of the European Investment Bank based in Luxembourg:
98-100, boulevard Konrad Adenauer
L-2950 Luxembourg 
E-mail: eu-africa-itf@eib.org