The European Fund for Sustainable Development Plus (EFSD+) is part of the EU’s investment framework for external action. It ensures world-wide coverage for blending, guarantees and other financial operations. It is included in the EU’s long-term budget programme for external action: Global Europe – NDICI.
It is a comprehensive instrument that includes
- grants provided through ‘blending’ (a mix of EU grants with bank loans)
- technical assistance to help improve the quality of projects and the implementation of reforms
- other support tools to support the development of partner countries
EFSD+ will raise financial resources for sustainable development from the private sector for inclusive economic development. It will support investment in partner countries to promote decent job creation, strengthen public and private infrastructure, foster renewable energy and sustainable agriculture, and support the digital economy.
The investment framework also includes the External Action Guarantee and together, the two components deliver a firepower of €53,45 billion for sustainable development.The External Action Guarantee has a capacity of €130 billion to guarantee EFSD+ operations. Together with the private sector and thanks to the leverage effect, this may mobilise more than half a trillion euros in investments for 2021-2027.
Supporting Global Gateway to close the global investment gap
The European Fund for Sustainable Development Plus is the main financial tool to mobilise investments under Global Gateway – the EU strategy to narrow the global investment gap in infrastructure. The tool will raise up to €135 billion worth of investments in a variety of Global Gateway sectors. It is an innovative instrument that helps generate investment through guarantee capacity and blending grants.
The guarantees the instrument provides will be used for de-risking activities and leveraging private investment, working together with the European Investment Bank (EIB) and other European financial institutions.
The EFSD+ guarantees are offered on favourable, highly competitive conditions. They allow private investors to finance projects in more challenging markets, by assuming the risks of more unstable environments while avoiding market distortions. Because the EFSD+ covers a share of the risks, the EU’s development finance partners can match the EFSD+ guarantees with their own resources, which in turn will attract additional investors. The instrument makes available €40 billion in guarantee capacity.
The investment programmes are implemented through two main paths
• In a partnership with the EIB, the EU is providing €26.7 billion guarantee for financing to support investments in sectors such as clean energy, green infrastructure and health. The guarantee will have a maximum impact on Global Gateway investments in partner countries where sovereign and other public sector risks are still a major bottleneck.
• Through sectoral windows amounting to €13 billion. The European Commission is proposing a specific ‘Global Gateway window’, which focuses on sectors like sustainable energy, clean transport and digital.
Where projects have a public added value that is not monetarised and that guarantees cannot address, the EU will use EFSD+ blending facilities. These facilities use grants and loans to support non-bankable investment projects in EU partner countries while enhancing their sustainability, climate-proofing and development impact.
How does the investment framework work?
European and international financial institutions submit programme requests to the Commission, asking for a guarantee support for their proposed loan and equity portfolios, so that they can finance projects that otherwise would be too risky for them to finance. The Commission chooses requests that offer the best development impact and contribute most to the EU policy objectives. These loan and equity portfolios can be in support of the public sector and the private sector.
EFSD+ is foreseen under Global Europe – NDICI, the EU’s main financing tool for the period 2021-2027 to contribute to eradicating poverty and promoting sustainable development, prosperity, peace and stability.
In June 2020, the 2018 proposal for Global Europe was amended to reinforce the EU's capacity to support partners in their efforts to fight and recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, in cooperation with partners such as international financial institutions, the United Nations and the World Health Organization.
The original ‘European Fund for Sustainable Development’ was enhanced with double the financing capacity to create the ‘European Fund for Sustainable Development Plus’. Together with the External Action Guarantee, it is a key instrument to recover from the effects of the crisis.