Strong turnout from diaspora investors at OPIC’s Expanding Horizons workshop in Boston
OPIC has long recognized diaspora investors as valuable partners in global development and the latest Expanding Horizons workshop in Boston on October 14 drew large numbers of diaspora business owners and entrepreneurs from Sub-Saharan Africa.
OPIC hosted the workshop in partnership with The Aspen Institute’s DIAspora Investment Alliance, which works to help channel investments from diaspora communities in the U.S. into their countries of origin in ways that spur lasting positive development impacts. This mission is closely aligned with OPIC’s partnership with U.S. businesses and investors to address major development challenges around the world. Diaspora investors based in the U.S. often have not only a strong network and a deep understanding of business conditions in their countries of origins, but also a motivation to address poverty, insufficient infrastructure and other development challenges.
“OPIC has launched an effort to reach out to diaspora who are often among the first investors in emerging market countries,” said OPIC Director of Outreach, Dr. Lawrence Spinelli. “OPIC can provide them with the tools they need to bring positive economic development to their home country.”
The workshop featured a prominent discussion of the ways diaspora investors could help make a positive impact as well as the practical ways that OPIC could support them with financing and political risk insurance. The event’s keynote speaker was Michael Seid, managing director of franchise consultant MSA Worldwide, who explained why local franchises of American businesses in developing countries were a key way to support economic growth.
“Franchises transform economies because they create ownership and help create a middle class and teach people about entrepreneurial skills,” he said, noting that these operations also help improve local business standards and strengthen supply chains.
OPIC’s Expanding Horizons workshop series seeks to educate American small businesses around the country about the opportunities of investing in emerging markets. OPIC diaspora partners have supported development in sectors from agriculture to healthcare in multiple countries from Afghanistanto Ghana.