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Monthly News Wrap-Up: April 2012

Last month we started recapping some of the most important stories from the industries and geographies in which we operate. This month we are continuing this series and we start with the recent Global Philanthropy Forum, which generated extensive discussion about the ways private investment and public-private partnerships can be used to address major social and environmental challenges.

The Global Philanthropy Forum was held on April 16 to 18 in Washington D.C. and it brought together investors and philanthropic leaders from around the world. Some described the event as the point at which “new philanthropy meets old.” This year’s event featured a special address from OPIC President and CEO Elizabeth Littlefield, who explained why private sector capital is essential in addressing the world’s biggest problems, and why the investment opportunity was significant.

There are many signs that individual as well as institutional investors are increasingly interested in socially-responsible investing (SRI). This Chicago Tribune piece discusses the rise in SRI among Baby Boomers, and according to one recent estimate, there are roughly $3 trillion in assets under management in the SRI sector in the U.S. alone. This piece explores the way that public-private partnerships are leading to innovative new investment strategies and cites OPIC’s work supporting the funding of small businesses in Liberia. And this story about OPIC loan recipient Microvest talks about “using the power of business to fight poverty.”

One persistent problem throughout much of the development world is poor health. Statistics show that, as a group, people in developing countries have shorter life expectancies than their counterparts in the developed world, and also are more likely to suffer from a range of illnesses associated with the lack of access to clean drinking water, healthcare and sanitation. April also marked World Health Day, an annual event the World Health Organization (WHO) hosts to help call to major global health challenges. We marked World Health Day by highlighting some of our projects that are helping to improve healthcare and sanitation in developing countries. A new report released by a coalition of global health groups says the United States commitment to global health research and development is helping to fight against disease around the world and helping to boost the U.S. economy.

Also in April, the Center for Global Development released a new report which found that the U.S. can boost the nation’s exports and create good jobs by ensuring people in developing nations have access to clean energy. Over the next several months we will be hosting a series of Expanding Horizons workshops and seminars to educate small and medium size businesses about opportunities for investment in developing or emerging markets. To keep up with the daily headlines and stories impacting our work, make sure to follow our Facebook and Twitter feeds and feel free to post and message us.

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