New preferential rate loan program will help make Belgium cities smarter

Wed, 2014-06-18 06:00 -- Liz Enbysk

The European Investment Bank (EIB) and Belgiums's Belfius Banque designed their Smart Cities and Sustainable Development program to support cities large and small finance mobility, urban development and energy efficiency projects, according to eturbonews.com.

Calling it a first in Europe, the report says the program will make EUR 400 million available for preferential rate loans to local authorities in Belgium – a country where 98% of the population lives in urban areas. The program's objective is to help minimize borrowing costs for municipalities wanting to implement smart city initiatives.

"With this program dedicated to smart cities projects, we are aiming to foster a strategic and integrated approach among public authorities and local decision-makers, fully in keeping with the 'Europe 2020' objectives of the European Union," said EIB Vice-President Pim van Ballekom. "This is a first for Belgium and Europe and we are convinced that this partnership with Belfius Banque can provide the necessary impetus to ensure that the smart cities initiative becomes the new standard for the development of the towns and cities of tomorrow."

Dirk Gyselinck of Belfius Banque noted that while the program intends to add value to local communities, it will also benefit many businesses which, as suppliers to local governments, will provide the technical solutions necessary to implement the projects.

As the article points out, funding problems often stymie smart city initiatives, making new financing solutions welcome. The Smart Cities Financing Guide published by the Council earlier this year highlights 28 financing tools – along with detailed analysis of each and case studies demonstrating how cities are using them to make the kinds of infrastructure improvements that are part and parcel of smart cities. You can download the Financing Guide for free after a brief, one-time registration. Click to register now >>

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