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MEMO/10/196

Brussels, 18 May 2010

The Latin America Investment Facility officially launched today at the EU-LAC Summit in Madrid

The Latin America Investment Facility (LAIF) will be launched jointly by the European Commission and the Spanish Presidency in Madrid on 18 May during the VI EU-Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Summit. LAIF has been established by the European Commission to mobilise additional financing in Latin America to support investment projects by bringing together grants from the Commission with loans from European development finance institutions. LAIF’s key priorities are interconnectivity and energy infrastructure, including energy efficiency and renewable energy systems, transport, environment, social services infrastructure and support for private sector development, in particular SMEs. The European Commission has dedicated to LAIF 125 million of grants up to 2013, which could generate investments well in excess of €3 billion.

LAIF will pursue three interconnected and mutually reinforcing strategic objectives:

  • improve interconnectivity, in particular by establishing better energy and transport infrastructure, between and within the Latin American countries;

  • increase protection of the environment and better focus and control the climate changes impacts;

  • promote equitable and sustainable socio-economic development through the improvement of the social services infrastructure and support for the SMEs.

LAIF is structured in a way that will further encourage the formation of consortiums between the European and Latin-American finance institutions. This will further add to the leverage effect of the LAIF grants and by facilitating the coordination and collaboration of the involved actors directly contribute to the principles agreed by the Paris Declaration and by the Accra Agenda for Action.

LAIF operations will take into account the different levels of socio-economic development of Latin American sub-regions and countries, and promote a balanced disbursement of funds, while ensuring sustainable absorption capacity.

Together with the Facility, President Barroso will present in Madrid the first three LAIF projects that were approved by the LAIF Board. These projects represent a total investment value of more than €400 million with 16 million of LAIF contribution.

Of these projects, the project aiming to facilitate an efficient and sustainable access of SMEs in the countries of Central America to financing for environmental investments, such as in energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies, received a final approval from the Board and will start in the second half of 2010 with the financial support of KfW Bankengruppe and the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI).

The two other projects, the Extension project of the hydroelectric plant "5 de Novembre" in El Salvador, also financed by KfW and CABEI, and the Sustainable electrification and renewable energy national programme (PNESER) in Nicaragua, financed by the European Investment Bank (EIB), the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB), CABEI, and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID), received a provisional approval.

For the period 2010-11 17 projects have been identified, representing a total investment cost of some €3.5 billion, a potential lending of over €1.8 billion and a potential LAIF grant contribution of about €100 million.

A LAIF Forum will take place in Montevideo in the second half of 2010 to ensure that the Latin American region derives maximum benefits from LAIF by making the region’s political and economic leaders fully aware of the opportunities it offers.

VII EU-Latin America and the Caribbean Summit web site:

http://ec.europa.eu/external_relations/lac/index_en.htm

Latin America Investment Facility web site:

http://ec.europa.eu/europeaid/where/latin-america/regional-cooperation/laif/index_en.htm


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