Last week, OPIC joined the Afghan-American Chamber of Commerce’s 8th Annual U.S.-Afghanistan Business Matchmaking Conference, where OPIC Senior Investment Officer John Didiuk (pictured) discussed the agency’s mission, private sector development and the potential for business finance in Afghanistan. The two-day conference and trade show, designed to help U.S. businesses learn about opportunities in Afghanistan, also featured panel discussions covering the sectors of transportation, agriculture, mining and infrastructure.
Since 2003, OPIC has committed more than $295 million in financing and political risk insurance to support 38 projects in Afghanistan. These projects are estimated to support more than 7,000 local jobs and result in approximately $440 million of local procurement, all at no net cost to the American taxpayers.
Currently, OPIC is supporting Afghanistan’s expanded renewable energy services in rural areas, including the installation of a one-megawatt solar power station and transmission lines for the impoverished province of Bamyan, in the central highlands of Afghanistan.
OPIC is also supporting a small business that got its start by selling bottled water to Coalition Forces. The company is using OPIC financing to establish the country’s first beverage facility to provide clean drinking water, and is now looking to expand to supply juice and milk products to the local population.
In addition, OPIC is working to address food security through its support of Afghan Growth Finance (AGF), a Small Enterprise Assistance Funds program established to address the market gap faced by small and medium enterprises in Afghanistan. OPIC has committed more than $47 million to AGF through two direct loans and recently signed an agreement to co-finance small business loans of up to $11.5 million.