EU External Investment Plan

How it works - investment climate support

Governments in countries neighbouring the EU and in Africa are working to make their countries more attractive places to invest and do business in.

In other words, they’re improving the investment climate. And by doing so, they’re improving their chances of achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, in particular by reducing poverty.

We’re supporting their efforts in 3 ways:

Progress so far


We’re working through the EU’s local offices in partner countries (delegations) to compile reports and data on the investment climate. 

We draw on several sources, including:

These reports focus in particular on:

  • investment opportunities
  • government policies that can put off investors
  • the main private sector associations, chambers of commerce and other business groups.

Insights for governments

That gives us a clearer picture of:

  • how positive the investment climate is
  • what governments can do to improve it.

Once the reports are finished, we discuss them in the countries concerned with the:

  • business community
  • government
  • locally-based EU officials.


We’re also helping to bring together governments and the local and European business communities on a regular basis.

Working jointly, they discuss:

  • the main issues that put off potential investors
  • how to tackle them
  • reforms that governments can pursue.

This is called structured public-private dialogue.

Steadily more countries

In Sub-Saharan Africa these dialogue processes are now in place in over 30 countries. Together they make up the Sustainable Business for Africa Platform (SB4A).

In countries neighbouring the east of the EU, we’ve set up and manage a Structural Reform Facility covering 6 countries.

This programme uses technical expertise from financial institutions to support reforms.


We’re also supporting governments to adopt reforms so they:

  • buy goods and services in a fair way
  • plan their spending effectively
  • invest in high-quality infrastructure
  • make it easier to start and run a business
  • promote free and fair competition
  • make it easier to export and import
  • provide job-related training.

We mostly do this by funding outside experts from:

  • EU countries’ agencies working to support development around the world
  • companies with expertise in a specific area or industry
  • international organisations.

Managing budgets better

In certain countries we also provide so-called budget support, where we transfer money directly to the budget of a country.

For their part, governments enact reforms in similar areas, including:

  • business law – making rules fairer and simpler
  • healthcare and education – enabling more people to access these services
  • justice – ensuring everyone can have their case heard in court
  • anti-corruption – such as recruiting public officials in an open, competitive way.

More details on budget support