OPIC’s March 11 inaugural Impact Awards ceremony was a big success and helped us highlight the ways our clients are making a difference around the world.
In this post we showcase the winners.
Global Partnerships: Access to Finance Award
OPIC loan recipient Global Partnerships, one of the three clients awarded the Access to Finance award, facilitates small microfinance loans in poor rural communities in Latin America like the one pictured below. It augments that financial support with other services such as business and health education classes as part of its broad strategy to give poor people the tools to improve their lives.
“Considering that millions of people in the developing world don’t even have a formal bank account and certainly have no way of accessing a bank loan, it’s clear that if we want to promote widespread opportunity, economic growth and job creation, we have to empower people with some basic financial tools,” said USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, who presented the award.
ContourGlobal: Critical Intrastructure Award
OPIC financing and political risk insurance supported ContourGlobal LLC’s construction of the 100 megawatt Lome Thermal Power Plant in Togo, helping to triple that country’s electricity generation capacity and dramatically reduce rolling blackouts. “Not only has the plant provided a reliable source of power to one of the world’s least developed countries that had one of the lowest per capita rates of electricity consumption in the world, but by doing so, it builds a longterm framework for economic activity and growth and stability in the country,” said Caroline Atkinson, Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs, who presented the award.
Ellicott Dredges LLC: American Small Business Award
Ellicott is a 129-year old company that sells its dredging equipment around the world and used OPIC political risk insurance to support sales in Iraq, where its U.S.-manufactured equipment has been used to de-silt hydroelectric dams and improve irrigation canals. “Ellicott exemplifies the American entrepreneurial spirit and it reminds us that when American companies engage in development abroad, it pays dividends here at home,” said Mark Meadows, U.S. Congressman from North Carolina, who presented the award.
Helios Investment Partners LLP: Private Equity Award
One of the ways OPIC supports development is by providing financing to emerging market private equity funds, such as Helios Investment Partners, which has a portfolio of businesses in more than two dozen countries in Africa. “Helios developed unique knowledge of the regulatory environment in each country, the social and consumer trends, and the strengths and weaknesses of managers inside companies. As a result, its investments have improved the daily lives of Africans,” said Gregory Meeks, U.S. Congressman from New York, who presented the award.
Inter-Mac International Inc.: Access to Finance Award
Inter-Mac International Inc. used OPIC financing to support construction of a community of homes in a low income region of Honduras that families can purchase through a lease purchase agreement for about $100 a month. “As any homeowner knows, our homes are often our largest assets and they provide a sense of financial security and stability. But in regions of Honduras, many people live in makeshift houses without even the basic amenities like running water. Inter-Mac changed that,” said OPIC Executive Vice President Mimi Alemayehou, who presented the award.
International Rescue Committee: Development Impact Award
International Rescue Committee has used OPIC political risk insurance to support its work responding to humanitarian crises around the world. “You found IRC stepping in to stop child slavery in the devastating wake of Haiti’s earthquake. You found them setting up tents to help trauma victims in the brutal heat of South Sudan. You will find IRC almost anywhere a humanitarian crisis commands our attention and challenges our conscience,” said Center for Global Development President Nancy Birdsall, who presented the award.
Medical Credit Fund: Access to Finance Award
Medical Credit Fund uses OPIC financing to support many of the small health clinics in Tanzania, Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria, which are a main source of health care for large numbers of low and middle-income people in Africa. “Health care is a major challenge in Africa, which carries a disproportionate share of a host of major diseases, from AIDS to high blood pressure. Yet small clinics typically can’t get a bank loan to cover the purchase of basic equipment like an ultrasound machine, or even to pay for basic repairs like a paint job or a new roof. OPIC financing has helped Medical Credit Fund disburse loans to more than 450 health care providers,” said Beth Cobert, Deputy Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget.
SunEdison LLC: Renewable Resources Award
SunEdison is using OPIC financing to build a 60 megawatt solar power plant in South Africa’s underdeveloped Free State. “This project really exemplifies how we can use the earth’s resources to address some of our biggest challenges. SunEdison has been a real leader in taking on these highly complex power projects in places in the developing world that are in real need of additional electricity,” said white House Counselor, John Podesta, who presented the award.