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Expanding access to banking and credit in Sub-Saharan Africa

October 23, 2012

Financial inclusion – the access to basic financial services like savings accounts and credit – can be essential to individuals trying to lift themselves out of poverty. Financial inclusion provides an opportunity to invest in a business, a home or an education. Rates of financial inclusion are low throughout much of the developing world, but particularly low in Sub-Saharan Africa.
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Monthly news wrap-up: August 2012

September 05, 2012

Late last month, the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) reported that farmers in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa are increasing the use of small-scale irrigation schemes as a result of drought that puts the security of food supplies at risk. The three-year study found that, rather than wait for rainfall, smallholder farmers, whose farms supply food for individual families, are
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International Youth Day 2012

August 09, 2012

Sunday, August 12 is International Youth Day, an annual observance supported by the United Nations (UN) calling attention to youth issues worldwide. In both developing and developed countries, young people face pressing global challenges, such as high levels of unemployment and subpar working conditions. They are seemingly left out while their leaders make decisions on their future. The UN provides
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Kifaru Youth Group

August 03, 2012

Members of the Kifaru Youth Group, a microfinance loan group based in the Nairobi suburb of Kawangware, meets in June to update their finances. The group is supported with microloans from Equity Bank’s Kawangware branch, which opened in 2007 and has since seen its customer base grow from 5000 members to 80,000. “Kawangware is a slum that is becoming a
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Sharing OPIC’s story: A conversation with Judith Pryor, Vice President of Office of External Affairs

July 31, 2012

In your experience, what is it that people find most interesting about OPIC’s work and what do they find most surprising? It varies by audience, of course, but in general OPIC’s project success stories are what people are most interested in. People like to hear how two college friends who traveled through Brazil came up with the idea to introduce
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“The most promising frontier market in the world today”

July 27, 2012

OPIC President and CEO Elizabeth Littlefield told Congress on Wednesday July 25 that Africa presented extensive investment and development opportunities but that U.S. businesses remain underrepresented on the continent. During the panel discussion, Embracing Africa’s Market Potential, before the Africa Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Littlefield described how OPIC supports long-term U.S. investments in Africa through political risk insurance,
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U.S. businesses are underrepresented in emerging markets, Littlefield says

July 17, 2012

At a time that the U.S. economy is tied more closely than ever to the world economy and some of the strongest economic growth is occurring in developing countries, American businesses are underrepresented in many of these high-growth regions, OPIC President and CEO Elizabeth Littlefield said. Littlefield, who spoke on Tuesday, July 17 at the Women in Finance symposium at
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Extending the reach of microfinance

June 11, 2012

OPIC’s 2011 annual report takes a look back at the agency’s first 40 years and highlights some lending programs from the 1970s that delivered loans – sometimes in amounts less than $1,000 – to individuals and small businesses in developing countries. Decades before microfinance became widely recognized as an effective tool for supplying small loans to individuals and small businesses, OPIC was
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Featured photo: A scene of village life in Rwanda

June 01, 2012

Sub-Saharan Africa has long been one of OPIC’s priority regions and is offering some of the highest investment returns of any emerging market in the world. For more scenes of village life in Rwanda, please visit us on Facebook.

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A pivotal year for foreign affairs, a banner year for OPIC: Read the fiscal 2011 annual report

May 22, 2012

OPIC recently published its annual report for fiscal 2011, a year that OPIC President and CEO Elizabeth Littlefield describes as “a pivotal year for foreign affairs and a banner year for the U.S. Government’s development finance institution.” Littlefield’s full letter is preinted below, and the complete annual report is available on OPIC.gov. When I embarked on my first full year at
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