Overview of the EU-AITF

Established in 2007 by the European Commission and several EU Member States, 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 sub-Saharan Africa by blending long-term financing from participating financiers (i.e. EU development financiers and the African Development Bank) with grant resources from the European Commission and several EU Member States. In this way, the Fund contributes to reducing poverty and helps boost sustainable economic growth across the continent by improving interconnectivity between sub-Saharan African countries and facilitating trade and regional integration.

The EU-AITF consists of two different grant envelopes:

  • The Regional Envelope (EUR 485 million[1]) promotes trans-border infrastructure projects or national projects with a demonstrable regional impact on several countries in the sectors of energy, transport, water and information and communication technologies (ICT). In 2017, the EU-AITF approved one grant under the Regional Envelope, dedicated to a project in the transport sector. Since the Fund’s inception, 79 grants, totalling EUR 433.2 million, have been supported under this envelope.
  • The Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) Envelope (EUR 330 million) supports regional, national and local projects targeting SE4ALL objectives. The SE4ALL initiative was launched to achieve three main objectives by 2030: ensure universal access to modern, affordable and sustainable energy services; double the global rate of improvement in energy efficiency; and double the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix. In 2017, the EU-AITF provided nine grants to support six SE4ALL projects. In operation since July 2013, this envelope has already financed 40 grants for a total amount of EUR 300.7 million.

The EU-AITF provides four different types of grant support:

  • Technical assistance (TA) for preparatory work, project supervision, and targeted capacity building;
  • Investment grants (IGs) to finance project components or part of the investment in order to increase the concessionality of the financing package;
  • Interest rate subsidies (IRSs) to lower interest rates and hence reduce the borrower’s total amount of debt as required by debt sustainability agreements; and
  • Financial instruments (FIs) to finance guarantee costs, equity or quasi-equity investments, participations, and risk-sharing instruments.

[1] Pledged amount.

The governance structure of the EU-AITF is as follows: