The EU’s attempts to catch China and the US in artificial intelligence and blockchain technologies are set to be hobbled by an investment shortfall of as much as 10 billion euros (approximately $12 billion) annually, the European Investment Bank has said.
The EIB, the EU’s lending arm, said while the United States and China together account for more than 80% of the 25 billion euros of annual equity investments in both technologies, the 27-country bloc contributed just 1.75 billion euros or 7% of the total.
It cited the importance of both technologies and their potential to reinvent sectors hit hard by the seemingly endless COVID-19 pandemic, such as financial services, healthcare and business intelligence, and boost the bloc’s economic resilience.
“Companies and governments in Europe are substantially underinvesting in AI and blockchain compared to other leading regions and it has become clear that the European Union struggles to translate its scientific excellence into business application and economic success,” the bank said in a report.
It estimated an annual investment gap of between 5 and 10 billion euros in both technologies.
The EIB said access to finance may become more challenging in the short run as a result of market conditions, potentially widening the investment gap.
“EU and member state support schemes could plug part of the gap, but private markets will clearly need to contribute the balance,” the bank said.
It cited several factors for the EU’s investment shortfall, among them European funds’ limited appetite due to high upfront investment needs, lack of knowledge and the limited specialisation of EU venture capital funds in both technologies.
The team at Platform Executive hope you have enjoyed this article. Automatic translation from English to a growing list of languages via Google AI Cloud Translation. Initial reporting via our official content partners at Thomson Reuters. Reporting by Foo Yun Chee. Editing by David Holmes.
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