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As the EU prepares to significantly scale up its deployment of blended finance, guarantees, and other risk-sharing tools aimed at stimulating investment in developing countries, and, in the face of spiralling needs as a result of COVID-19, this paper analyses how the EU could use its development budget to incentivise private investment in human capital. The paper provides three contributions. First, it gives an overview of the allocation of the EU’s external investment to date. Second, based on interviews with stakeholders, it documents cases of private investment in health and education while exploring some of the barriers to a higher share of investment in these sectors by the EU and its development finance partners. Finally, it puts forward a set of proposals for how to steer greater European external investment through the European Fund for Sustainable Development Plus (EFSD+) toward human capital.