OPIC Impact Awards: A recap in photos
OPIC honored seven partners for excellence in development at the 2016 OPIC Impact Awards July 7. Here’s a look at how they are supporting development in a variety of sectors and regions from agriculture to technology, from Sub-Saharan Africa to India, Afghanistan and Latin America.
Innovation: Westrock Coffee Co.
Westrock Coffee of Little Rock, Arkansas used OPIC political risk insurance to support its investment in Rwanda’s coffee sector. Westrock has upgraded coffee processing facilities in and around Kigali and provided training and agricultural loans to farmers to help them grow more coffee and reach the global marketplace. The project helps generate income for thousands of rural families.
Development Impact: American Wool and Cashmere Inc.
American Wool & Cashmere is a Beltsville, Maryland small business that used OPIC financing to establish a delivery infrastructure so that wool produced by small herders in Western Afghanistan could reach major export markets. By establishing a reliable supply chain, the company has helped ensure that the region’s herders earn a steady income, which has helped create employment for more than 1,500 people.
Renewable Energy: BMR Energy, LLC
BMR Energy used OPIC financing together with support from the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation, to build a 36-megawatt wind farm in Jamaica, the country’s largest private-sector renewable energy project. The wind farm will help Jamaica reduce its dependence on imported fossil fuels and move toward its goal of generating 20 percent of its electricity from renewable energy by 2030. The wind farm has the capacity to provide power to 36,000 Jamaican households.
Critical Infrastructure: Hamma Water Desalination SpA
Hamma Water Desalination is a plant that supplies clean drinking water to hundreds of thousands of families in and around Algeria’s capital city. When it opened in 2008, it was the largest desalination plant in Africa. The project which was built with the support of OPIC financing along with financial support from the Government of Algeria, embodies the effectiveness of public-private partnerships to build major infrastructure projects. OPIC provided $200 million in financing to Ionics Inc. of Watertown, Mass., a business that was later acquired by GE.
Access to Finance: Habitat for Humanity’s MicroBuild Fund
MicroBuild was formed by Habitat for Humanity International of Atlanta to help people who lack access to traditional bank mortgages obtain housing microfinance loans to purchase or improve their homes. By lending to local microfinance institutions, MicroBuild expands opportunities for low-income families in need of decent housing through a combination of capital and housing support services such as land purchases and water installation. OPIC committed its first $45 million loan to MicroBuild in 2012. To date, OPIC financing has supported MicroBuild in helping tens of thousands of families construct or improve their homes in 19 developing countries.
American Small Business: QuantumID Technologies
QuantumID is a Cambridge, Mass. business that developed a handheld, cloud-based cargo tracking technology that has helped make air transport more affordable and reliable. The company used OPIC financing to introduce the technology in India, where it has enabled small businesses to transport cargo at a lower cost. It is now using a second OPIC loan to introduce the technology in The Philippines. Today, Quantum is a growing business that employs more than 50 people in India, as well as 15 in its Massachusetts headquarters.
President’s Award: Sambazon Inc.
Sambazon, Inc. is a San Clemente, California small business that used an OPIC loan to build an açaí berry processing facility in the Brazilian rainforest, generating income for more than 10,000 family farmers. Sambazon uses sustainable processes and distributes açaí juices to the U.S. and beyond. This burgeoning global market for açaí has created financial incentive for rainforest preservation in Brazil. Sambazon works with more than 30 different communities in the Amazon and supports them by building schools, community centers and medical centers.