1. Is your project in a country in which OPIC can do business?
OPIC programs are available in 160 developing countries. Please click this link to see the current country list. From time to time, statutory and policy constraints may limit the availability of OPIC programs in certain countries, or countries where programs were previously unavailable may become eligible. If you have a question about a particular country, please contact OPIC directly for the most up-to-date information on the availability of OPIC products in that country
2. Are you seeking medium- to long-term debt financing for a long-term in-country investment?
OPIC’s finance program provides medium-to-long-term debt financing for long-term direct investments in developing countries and emerging markets. Transaction size range from a minimum of $350,000 to a maximum of $250 million. OPIC support is available for new investments, expansions and modernizations of existing plants, and privatizations. Acquisitions of existing operations are also eligible for financing if the investor contributes significant additional capital for modernization and/or expansion.
OPIC does not offer financing of export sales unrelated to long-term investment. If you are seeking export financing, we recommend that you contact the Export-Import Bank of the United States or the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Office of International Trade.
OPIC does not make direct equity investments in projects. If you are seeking equity for your project, please visit OPIC’s Investment Funds section to read more about OPIC-supported private equity funds.
OPIC generally does not provide grants or feasibility study assistance. For more information on this type of assistance, please contact the U.S. Trade Development Agency.
3. Does a U.S. citizen or business have meaningful involvement in your project?
OPIC generally provides financing to the project itself (or to a parent company that is using the loan to implement the project). For a project to be eligible to apply for an OPIC Finance product, the project must include the meaningful involvement of the U.S. private sector.
How does OPIC define U.S.?
How does OPIC measure meaningful U.S. involvement?
Any for-profit entity organized in the United States with at least 25% of its equity/share capital U.S. owned.
Any for-profit entity organized outside the United States with more than 50% of its equity/share capital U.S. owned
U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents (i.e. Green Card holders).
Any non-profit entity that is organized in the United States.
U.S. involvement in the project company/borrower in an amount that is equivalent to at least 25% of the equity/share capital of the project company/borrower.
The 25% benchmark may be met with equity investment (ownership/contribution), long-term debt investment in the project or other U.S. contracts (e.g. construction contracts) or by combining these types of involvement in the Project among one or more U.S. participants.
Other forms of involvement (e.g. franchise or long-term management contracts) may be considered.
4. Have you assessed the availability of private sector financing for your project?
OPIC does not compete with private sector lenders. If a private sector lender is willing to provide financing for a project on commercially viable terms, then OPIC encourages the project sponsor to utilize a private sector provider. If private sector financing is not a viable option for the project, then it would be eligible to apply to OPIC for support.
5. Are the project sponsors contributing an adequate level of equity to the project?
Investors must demonstrate their capability to contribute sufficient equity to the project so that excessive leverage does not jeopardize the project’s financial viability. Although the financial structure may vary with the nature of a specific business, OPIC generally requires that the borrower maintain a debt to equity ratio in the range of 60 percent debt to 40 percent equity. OPIC can lend up to 60 percent of the total costs of a new venture, while a somewhat higher participation may be considered in the case of an expansion of a successful existing business. OPIC will not generally support more than 75 percent of the total investment
6. Do you have a successful track record in the industry?
All projects must be within the demonstrated competence of the proposed management, which can be demonstrated by a recent, proven record of success in the same or a closely related business.
7. Does your project include activities that OPIC is categorically prohibited from supporting?
OPIC is categorically prohibited from supporting activities that may have an irremediable impact on the environment, an adverse impact on the U.S. economy or employment, or an adverse impact on public health and safety. Before applying, please review the list of categorically prohibited sectors to ensure that OPIC would not be prohibited from supporting your project.
8. Is your project in a sector that has experienced significant U.S. job loss in the past decade or would it result in the closing of a U.S. operation or a reduction of your U.S. workforce?
As noted above, OPIC is categorically prohibited from supporting projects that could have an adverse impact on the U.S. economy or employment. If your project would not have such consequences, then you would be eligible to apply for OPIC support.
9. Will your project be managed in compliance with International Labor Organization worker rights standards?
OPIC has a statutory requirement to ensure that the projects it supports are established and maintained in compliance with internationally-recognized worker rights standards. Every project is reviewed for its compliance with the OPIC statutory worker rights requirements. Each review includes a country-level analysis with respect to labor laws and general country labor conditions, and a project-level analysis with respect to sector and specific project activities, location, size, number of workers, and the nature of work performed.
Categorically Prohibited Sectors:
Projects that involve conversion or degradation of Critical Forest Areas or related Critical Natural Habitats. "Critical Natural Habitats" means (1) existing internationally recognized protected areas, areas initially recognized as protected by traditional local communities (e.g., sacred groves), and sites that maintain conditions vital to the viability of protected areas (as determined by the environmental assessment procedure); and (2) sites identified on supplementary lists by authoritative sources identified by OPIC (such sites may include areas recognized by traditional local communities (e.g., sacred groves), areas with known high suitability for biodiversity conservation and sites that are critical for vulnerable, migratory or endangered species; listings are based on systematic evaluations of such factors as species richness, the degree of endemism, rarity, and vulnerability of component species, representativeness and the integrity of ecosystem processes). "Critical Forest Areas" means a type of natural forest that qualifies as Critical Natural Habitat.
Projects involving the construction of "large dams" that significantly and irreversibly: (A) disrupt natural ecosystems upstream or downstream of the dam, or (B) alter natural hydrology, or (C) inundate large land areas, or (D) impact biodiversity, or (E) displace large numbers of inhabitants (5,000 persons or more) or (F) impact local inhabitants' ability to earn a livelihood.
Projects involving the commercial manufacturing of ozone-depleting substances (ODS) or the production or use of persistent organic pollutants (POPS) that are banned or scheduled to be phased out of production and use by international agreement during the life of the project. A list of these substances and chemicals can be obtained from OPIC on request. The ODS list is defined by the Montreal Protocol as amended and US implementing regulations. The POPs prohibition refers to twelve products whose ban and phase out are provided for under the Rotterdam Convention of 2004. OPIC's prohibition is consistent with the position of the U.S. government in the negotiations that preceded such convention with respect to the various categories of POPs, which include pesticides, industrial chemicals and unintentional by-products.
Projects that require resettlement of 5,000 or more persons.
Projects in or impacting natural World Heritage Sites (areas of significant ecological value that have been internationally recognized as necessary for strict protection by members of the World Heritage Convention).
Projects in or impacting areas on the United Nations List of National Parks and Protected Areas.
Extraction or infrastructure projects in or impacting: protected area Categories I, II, III, and IV (Strict Nature Reserve/Wilderness Areas and National Parks; Natural Monuments and Habitat/Species Management Areas), as defined by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Projects in IUCN Categories V (Protected Landscape/Seascape) and VI (Managed Resource Protected Area) must be consistent with IUCN management objectives.
Areas protected by the Ramsar Convention are considered within the appropriate IUCN Category to which they are assigned.
Projects established as a result or in contemplation of reducing or terminating U.S. based operations. Such operations include "runaway plants" as well as outsourcing the provision of goods and services from the United States. Business process outsourcing (BPO), such as software design, customer service and accounting functions, is also included within this prohibition.
Projects involving gambling; tobacco or related products; alcoholic beverages (if contrary to local religious or cultural norms); media communications of an adult or political nature; or military production or sales.