We frequently share the important pieces of journalism we find on our Facebook and Twitter feeds. Starting this month, we will also begin recapping on our blog some of the stories we consider most important to helping solve critical development challenges.
This month there has been increased discussion over ways to encourage more economic development in Afghanistan in order to accelerate the path to a peaceful future. Here at OPIC we are doing our part to make that vision a reality. Recently, OPIC and Afghan Growth Finance (AGF) signed an agreement to co-finance up to $11.5 million in loans to small businesses in Afghanistan. This partnership will provide small and medium-sized enterprises with access to capital in larger amounts and for long-term tenors, which are terms generally unavailable from other financial institutions in the Afghan market.
This month has also provided an opportunity for the world to reflect on the first anniversary of many of the events of the Arab Spring. This interactive timeline breaks down the events by date and country and shows the breadth and scope of how the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) have evolved over the past year.
This March marked one year since OPIC President and CEO Elizabeth Littlefield traveled with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Egypt and Tunisia to meet with the interim governments, revolutionary leaders, and civil society. Secretary Clinton later announced that OPIC would provide $2 billion in support, including loans, guarantees and political risk insurance, to catalyze private-sector investment in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). OPIC’s current portfolio in the MENA region totals nearly $2.6 billion across 50 projects.
One industry that has been generating attention this month as a potential area for investment in the MENA region is the renewable energy sector. Lynn Tabernacki, Managing Director of OPIC’s Renewable and Clean Energy Programs, joined the public discussion on this topic with a piece in Renewable Energy World, in which she suggests how leasing equipment could accelerate use of renewable energy technology in emerging markets and encourage economic growth.
It has been a busy month filled with news about the industries and geographies in which we operate. We hope you will take the opportunity to share other interesting pieces you have discovered below in our comments section.