OPIC Open for Business in South Sudan
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Minister Garang Diing Akuong and OPIC President Elizabeth Littlefield sign agreement to encourage U.S. investment
JUBA, South Sudan – Elizabeth Littlefield, President and CEO of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government’s development finance institution, announced today that OPIC is open for business in South Sudan, and is actively seeking to support private sector investment in Africa’s newest nation.
Ms. Littlefield and the South Sudanese Minister of Commerce, Industry & Investment, Garang Diing Akuong, signed a memorandum of understanding in Juba committing their governments to negotiate a bilateral agreement that will streamline OPIC support for new U.S. investment in South Sudan.
“As Secretary of State Clinton said in July, South Sudan has been hard at work over the past year building governing structures and a foundational legal framework,” Ms. Littlefield said. “As a critical next step, opening OPIC operations sends a strong signal to U.S. businesses that South Sudan is ready to work to create the kind of business environment that will attract the international investment that will create jobs and drive economic development.”
“South Sudan’s potential to develop new businesses and industries is enormous,” said the U.S. Ambassador to South Sudan, Susan Page. “With OPIC’s presence, the prospect for investors and companies to help realize the economic promise of this new country is closer to being realized.”
During a brief visit to the country, Ms. Littlefield met with South Sudanese government ministers and private sector leaders to explore investment opportunities in sectors vital to South Sudan’s future, including agriculture, infrastructure, energy and tourism.
In the past two years OPIC has made significant efforts to expand its work in Africa, resulting in an extraordinary 300 percent increase in the agency’s commitments to the region last year. Whereas Sub-Saharan Africa comprised only four percent of OPIC’s global portfolio of loans, guarantees and insurances in 2001, today it stands at a full 21 percent.
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.