In Africa, many of the same health care clinics that serve large numbers of low and middle-income people struggle to borrow money to pay for new equipment or even basic maintenance. This limited access to finance directly impacts the delivery of quality healthcare on a continent that carries a disproportionate share of a host of major diseases from AIDS to high blood pressure.
On March 11, OPIC awarded an Impact Award in the Access to Finance category to the Medical Credit Fund (MCF), a client that has not only provided loans to these clinics, but helped them to establish a track record of borrowing and repaying their loans to help make them eligible for larger bank loans. In addition to raising money from OPIC to support this lending, MCF is also supported by multiple nonprofits.
“Just as many individuals in the developing world lack access to basic finance, so do many small businesses, including health clinics,” said Beth Cobert, Deputy Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, who presented the award. “OPIC financing has helped Medical Credit Fund disburse loans to more than 450 health care providers.” (Medical Credit Fund was one of three clients recognized in the Access to Finance category).
Medical Credit Fund Managing Director Monique Dolfing-Vogelenzang, who accepted the award, described how OPIC’s commitment to provide financing at a relatively early stage helped attract additional funding from other sources including Deutsche Bank, the Calvert Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Soros Economic Development Fund.
“They’ve all teamed up together to finance us, and help us to reach those small clinics that are in Africa, and all the doctors who are trying to provide some services, in a challenging environment with limited resources.”