「この突然変異はドイツで確認されていますが、少なくともまだ優勢ではありません」とメルケル首相は述べた。 「それでも、この突然変異によってもたらされる脅威を非常に真剣に受け止める必要があります。 この突然変異の広がりを可能な限り遅らせる必要があります。」
彼女は次のように付け加えました。「この脅威が私たちを襲うのを待つことはできません。これは、感染の積極的な増加を意味し、パンデミックの第XNUMXの波を防ぐには遅すぎます。 私たちはまだこれを防ぐことができます。 まだ時間があります。」
The European Union and the European Investment Bank, working together as Team Europe, are providing €120 million (KES 15.8 billion) of new support for Equity Bank to enhance financing to Kenyan companies most impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
The financing package will support access to finance at appropriate conditions for Kenyan SMEs, including in the agriculture sector, through €100m loans from the European Investment Bank to Equity Bank and €20m of European Union (EU) grant support.
New technical assistance, backed by the European Union, will further strengthen Equity Bank's capacity to assess, execute and monitor longer-term agricultural value chains investment projects and further develop provision of long-term financing for agriculture.
“As an inclusive regional financial institution these facilities strengthen Equity's position to further enhance the strength of MSMEs which are key actors in value chains and ecosystems in the economy. By ensuring their survival and growth the MSMEs will continue to protect jobs, create more jobs and support lives and livelihoods in society, serving to create resilience as the pandemic subsides, vaccines become available in Kenya, and market growth returns. We value our long-term partnership with the EIB and the European Union who have walked with us and our customers on our path for sustained human development for many years including their investment to scale Kilimo Biashara. We thank them for supporting our efforts to strengthen the role of MSMEs to stimulate the economy back to prosperity, and hence support lives and livelihoods through market growth,” said Equity Group Holdings Plc グループマネージングディレクター と Group Chief Executive Officer Dr. James Mwangi.
“New EIB and EU support for leading Kenyan partner Equity Bank will help entrepreneurs, business and agricultural small holders across Kenya to access finance and better withstand the economic challenges and business uncertainties caused by COVID-19. Today's new agreements demonstrate Team Europe and Kenya joining forces to beat COVID-19 and help business flourish,” said Thomas Östros, vice president of the European Investment Bank.
“The EU is working to revamp our co-operation with our African partners to tackle the common challenges that affect people's lives, in particular the youth. We want to build back better together from the COVID-19 pandemic to guarantee a sustainable, green and just recovery. The SME sector is a lifeline for employment, including for the most vulnerable populations and in particular in critical sectors such as agriculture. Agreements like the one signed today to support Kenyan SMEs to mitigate the negative impact of COVID-19 and will help us to achieve this,” said International Partnerships Commissioner Jutta Urpilainen.
Kenya's National Treasury observed a downturn growth rate from 6.1 % to 2.5 % in 2020, making it the worst year for the country in more than a decade. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which sustain the highest proportion of employment in the region, are the most vulnerable with limited access to external financing.
The Kenya–Team Europe COVID-19 Response Access to Finance and Kenya Agriculture Value Chain Facility initiatives were formally signed in Equity Bank HQ Nairobi at a COVID-19 compliant event attended by the European Union Ambassador to Kenya, EIB Regional Representative in East Africa and Kenyan stakeholders. EIB Vice President Thomas Östros participated remotely.
Improving access to finance by agriculture
Agriculture contributes about 51% to Kenya's GDP (26% directly and another 25% indirectly), 60% of employment and 65% of the exports. Growth of agriculture based economic activity is constrained by limited long-term financing, which delays its development and modernization.
Increasing private sector access to long-term financing is crucial to unlock development potential across all sectors impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including agriculture and agricultural value chains.
Enhancing economic resilience of Kenyan business of COVID-19
The new private sector financing initiative unveiled today will strengthen access to finance by Kenyan SMEs and boost business resilience at a time of global economic slowdown and investment uncertainty.
In addition, the new cooperation with Equity Bank will stimulate investment, creating decent jobs and contributing to the country's recovery efforts and sustainable development.
The programme announced today is part of the larger €300m EU response to the COVID-19 crisis in Kenya and targeted EIB support for economic resilience across Africa.
Other partnerships with banks to provide access to finance may be forthcoming.
Strengthening cooperation with leading Kenyan financial institutions
Equity Bank is the largest partner for EIB backed private sector support in Kenya.
Over the last 10 years, the EIB has worked with 17 Kenyan banks and financial institutions to increased access to finance by entrepreneurs, small holders and business expansion through targeted credit lines and financing initiatives.
Since 1976 the European Investment Bank has provided more than €1.5bn of financing to support private and public investment across Kenya.
The EU and Kenya have a long-standing partnership. The EU's co-operation with Kenya amounts to €435 million for the period 2014-2020, covering the sectors of Job Creation and Resilience, Sustainable Infrastructure and Governance. The country is also supported by the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa; with over €58.3m for 2015-2019.
The announcement illustrates the commitment of the EU and its member states present in Kenya in supporting the country's main objectives outlined in the ‘Big 4 Agenda'. In 2018, the second phase of the Joint Programming strategy was signed, seeking to boost manufacturing, food and nutrition, security, affordable housing and universal health coverage.
Team Europe's total global response to COVID-19 stands at almost €38.5bn, combining resources from the EU, its member states, the European Investment Bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. Around €8bn of this assistance is designated to African countries. The programme announced today is part of the larger €300m EU response to the COVID-19 crisis in Kenya.
The European Commission has adopted a Communication providing member states with broad guidance on the conduct of fiscal policy in the period ahead. It provides guiding principles for the proper design and quality of fiscal measures. It sets out the Commission's considerations regarding the deactivation or continued activation of the general escape clause. It also provides general indications on the overall fiscal policy for the period ahead, including the implications of the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) for fiscal policy.
The Commission is committed to ensuring a coordinated and consistent policy response to the current crisis. This requires credible fiscal policies that address the short-term consequences of the coronavirus pandemic and support the recovery, while not endangering fiscal sustainability in the medium-term. This Communication aims to support those objectives.
Guidance for co-ordinated fiscal policies
The coordination of national fiscal policies is essential to support the economic recovery. The Communication specifies that fiscal policy should remain agile and adjust to the evolving situation. It warns against a premature withdrawal of fiscal support, which should be maintained this year and next. It provides that once health risks diminish, fiscal measures should gradually pivot to more targeted and forward-looking measures that promote a resilient and sustainable recovery and that fiscal policies should take into account the impact of the RRF. Finally, fiscal policies should take into account the strength of the recovery and fiscal sustainability considerations.
This guidance will facilitate member states in the preparation of their stability and convergence programmes, which should be presented to the Commission in April 2021. The guidance will be further detailed in the Commission's European Semester spring package.
Considerations for the deactivation or continued activation of the general escape clause
The Commission proposed the activation of the general escape clause in March 2020 as part of its strategy to respond quickly, forcefully and in a coordinated manner to the coronavirus pandemic. It allowed Member States to undertake measures to deal adequately with the crisis, while departing from the budgetary requirements that would normally apply under the European fiscal framework.
The Communication sets out the Commission's considerations for how a future decision on the deactivation of the clause or its continued activation for 2022 should be taken. In the view of the Commission, the decision should be taken following an overall assessment of the state of the economy based on quantitative criteria. The level of economic activity in the EU or euro area compared to pre-crisis levels (end-2019) would be the key quantitative criterion for the Commission in making its overall assessment of the deactivation or continued application of the general escape clause. Therefore, current preliminary indications would suggest to continue applying the general escape clause in 2022 and to deactivate it as of 2023.
Following a dialogue between the Council and the Commission, the Commission will assess the deactivation or continued activation of the general escape clause on the basis of the 2021 Spring Forecast, which will be published in the first half of May.
Country-specific situations will continue to be taken into account after the deactivation of the general escape clause. In case a Member State has not recovered to the pre-crisis level of economic activity, all the flexibilities within the Stability and Growth Pact will be fully used, in particular when proposing fiscal policy guidance.
The Communication provides some general indications on Member States' fiscal policy in 2022 and over the medium-term, including the link with the funds of the RRF. The RRF will play a crucial role in helping Europe recover from the economic and social impact of the pandemic and will help to make the EU's economies and societies more resilient and secure the green and digital transitions.
The RRF will make €312.5 billion available in grants and up to €360 billion available in loans to Member States to support the implementation of reforms and investments. This will provide a sizeable fiscal impulse and help mitigate the risk of divergences in the euro area and the EU.
The implementation of the Recovery and Resilience Facility will also have important implications for national fiscal policies. Expenditure financed by grants from the RRF will provide a substantial boost to the economy in the coming years, without increasing national deficits and debt. It will also spur member states to improve the growth-friendliness of their fiscal policies. Public investment funded by RRF grants should come on top of existing levels of public investment. Only if the RRF finances additional productive and high quality investment, will it contribute to the recovery and lift potential growth, in particular when combined with structural reforms in line with the country-specific recommendations.
Member States should make best use of the unique window of opportunity provided by the RRF to support the economic recovery, foster higher potential growth and improve their underlying fiscal positions in the medium to long term.
Public debate on the economic governance framework
The crisis brought about by the coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the relevance and importance of many of the challenges that the Commission sought to discuss and address in the public debate on the economic governance framework. Relaunching the public consultation on the framework will allow the Commission to reflect on these challenges and draw lessons. The Communication confirms the Commission's intention to relaunch the public debate on the economic governance framework once the recovery takes hold.
An Economy that Works for People Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis said: “There is hope on the horizon for the EU economy, but for now the pandemic continues to hurt people's livelihoods and the wider economy. To cushion this impact and to promote a resilient and sustainable recovery, our clear message is that fiscal support should continue as long as needed. Based on current indications, the general escape clause would remain active in 2022 and be deactivated in 2023. Member States should make the most of the Recovery and Resilience Facility, as this gives them a unique chance to support their economy without burdening public finances. Timely, temporary and targeted measures will allow a smooth return to sustainable budgets in the medium-term.”
Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said: “Our decision last March to activate the general escape clause was a recognition of the gravity of the unfolding crisis. It was also a statement of our determination to take all necessary steps to tackle the pandemic and support jobs and companies. One year on, the battle against COVID-19 is not yet won and we must ensure that we do not repeat the mistakes of a decade ago by pulling back support too soon. For 2022, it is clear that fiscal support will still be necessary: better to err towards doing too much rather than too little. At the same time, fiscal policies should be differentiated according to the pace of each country's recovery and their underlying fiscal situation. Crucially, as funding from Next Generation EU begins to flow, governments should ensure that national investment spending is preserved and strengthened through EU grants."