Building Back Better in the Wake of the COVID-19 Crisis? The Role of European Development Finance Institutions in a Changing Development Finance Landscape

Willem Lijnders

Student thesis: Master thesis


This thesis examines the role of the fifteen European Development Finance Institutions (EDFIs) in mitigating the impact of the COVID-crisis on sub-Saharan Africa’s (SSA) private sector. Following an exploratory research approach, the paper draws on secondary sources and in-depth interviews with development practitioners to examine the role of EDFIs in a changing development finance landscape characterized by an increased focus on private sector financing and enhanced financialization of development cooperation. The thesis shows that the COVID-crisis most significantly impacts EDFIs in terms of their pipeline, existing clients, and modus operandi. It argues that the role of EDFIs will increase in the wake of the crisis through new partnerships with non-traditional development actors and enhanced cooperation with existing partners and that blended finance for agriculture will play an increasingly important role. The study also argues that EDFIs will play an enhanced role in shaping the EU policy dialogue towards sustainable development. It concludes by arguing that the European development finance system will have to undergo changes regarding the way itis governed, to respond to the crisis and the growing SDG financing gap more adequately. EDFIs' most important shareholders – the European governments – will have to provide their DFIs with additional resources if they want them to be at the center of this transformation.

EducationsMSc in International Business and Politics, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2020
Number of pages101
SupervisorsMaha Rafi Atal