Thursday, March 29, 2012
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government’s development finance institution, today approved $150 million in political risk insurance to support the rehabilitation of nearly half the municipal water purification systems in Ghana. According to the World Health Organization and UNICEF only an estimated 37 percent of Ghana’s urban homes and less than four percent of rural ones have piped water connections.
This investment is central to Ghana’s National Water Policy, which aims to increase the availability of clean water from 61 percent to 85 percent of the population by 2015. It will also help reduce waste by increasing the efficiency of the country’s water treatment plants from 77 percent utilization to 100 percent.
The OPIC insurance will cover the Ghana National Water Infrastructure Modernization Project investment. Belstar Capital Ltd, a U.S. company, and Deutsche Bank arranged the $150 million in debt financing. International Business and Trade LLC, a Florida company, will supply and install the equipment used to rehabilitate 38 of 82 existing municipal water purification systems, impacting all ten of Ghana’s administrative regions.
Lack of clean drinking water and sanitation systems in Ghana cause more than 20,000 deaths annually through dysentery and other waterborne diseases. A World Bank analysis reports that health costs from poor water and sanitation hygiene cost Ghana the equivalent of 2.1 percent of annual GDP.
“Clean drinking water is vital not only to the health of Ghana’s population, but to its overall economic development. By upgrading municipal water systems across the entire country, this project will have an enormous positive impact throughout Ghana,” said OPIC President and CEO Elizabeth Littlefield. “We are extremely pleased to be able to support our clients and Ghana achieve this crucial developmental goal.”
“Belstar Capital Ltd. and its project implementation partner, International Business and Trade LLC, congratulate the Government of Ghana on this investment in not only the physical infrastructure of the country, but also the investment in human capital through the rehabilitation and modernization of the water system. We are grateful that the Government of Ghana is allowing our participation in this worthwhile endeavor”, stated Arthur Polk, Belstar Capital President and CEO.
OPIC is the U.S. Government’s development finance institution. It mobilizes private capital to help solve critical development challenges and in doing so, advances U.S. foreign policy. Because OPIC works with the U.S. private sector, it helps U.S. businesses gain footholds in emerging markets catalyzing revenues, jobs and growth opportunities both at home and abroad. OPIC achieves its mission by providing investors with financing, guarantees, political risk insurance, and support for private equity investment funds.
Established as an agency of the U.S. Government in 1971, OPIC operates on a self-sustaining basis at no net cost to American taxpayers. OPIC services are available for new and expanding business enterprises in more than 150 countries worldwide. To date, OPIC has supported more than $200 billion of investment in over 4,000 projects, generated an estimated $75 billion in U.S. exports and supported more than 276,000 American jobs.