Monthly news wrap-up: May 2012
OPIC provided political risk insurance to rebuild a flour mill and animal feed facility that was destroyed in the 2010 earthquake. This picture is from a tour at the grand reopening of the facility on December 15, 2011. This is just one of many OPIC projects focused on food security.
We continue our monthly news wrap-up series this month, starting with a topic that has generated headlines around the globe: food security. When the G8 was held at Camp David starting on May 20, participants committed to a public-private partnership, including $3 billion in corporate pledges, to fight global hunger and chronic malnutrition. Some stories on the topic, including one from Reuters, set the scene for this announcement by calling attention to the fact that some of the G8 countries are in the midst of serious economic challenges. But most understand that ensuring that the global population has enough to eat goes a long way to supporting economic and political security. OPIC is committed to that idea, as well. Some examples of ways we have invested in food security include restoring food production in Haiti, supplying clean drinking water in Algeria, and expanding dairy production in Georgia.
Last month we looked at some stories on the rise of Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) and Impact Investing . This month, Environmental Leader reports on a study conducted by Harvard Business School titled The Impact of a Corporate Culture of Sustainability on Corporate Behavior and Performance. The report, which was also released this month, found companies focused on sustainability significantly outperform their counterparts, both in terms of stock market and accounting performance. We hope this report serves as a reminder that investing in projects that yield positive social and environmental returns can also yield positive financial returns. As Jay Koh, OPIC’s Head of Investment Funds and Chief Investment Strategist, said in a recent Q & A, “It is possible now for investors to do well financially, by doing good around the world.”
Koh represented OPIC this month at the International Finance Corporation (IFC)/Emerging Markets Private Equity Association’s (EMPEA) annual Global Private Equity Conference. The event generated awareness for a continued rise in investment in emerging markets. The coverage of the conference focused on many of the ways private equity investors are entering in emerging markets, including in the economic reconstruction of the MENA region in the aftermath of last year’s Arab Spring. We will leave you with one last piece on this conference, published in the Huffington Post, from Lars Thunell, Executive Vice President and CEO of IFC – World Bank Group, who says investing in emerging markets just “makes sense.” He predicts that with the economic growth and the rise of the middle class in emerging markets, there will be a significant increase in the rate of investment in these countries in the future.