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Speeches and Testimony

Remarks by OPIC President and CEO Ray W. Washburne for OPIC 2X Americas Announcement at the Eighth Summit of the Americas

April 12, 2018 | Lima, Peru

(As Prepared)

Thank you Secretary Sullivan for those remarks and for being with us today as we continue to roll out the Administration’s work on women’s empowerment.

This is an exciting day for OPIC - and not just because we are here with Ms. Trump. OPIC is an action-oriented agency. We’re here to do business and get things done. Today is just another milestone in our efforts to support women around the world.

When I started at OPIC last year, one of my top priorities was to establish OPIC’s first women’s initiative. And last month, that’s exactly what we did when we launched the OPIC 2X Global Women’s initiative, which will mobilize more than $1 billion in capital to invest in the world’s women.

As many of you know, OPIC is the U.S. Government’s development finance institution. For more than four decades, we’ve supported investment in developing economies by providing loans, loan guarantees and political risk insurance. We have a $23 billion portfolio invested across 675 projects in 90 countries.

We believe that private capital is key to advancing U.S. development and foreign policy, while improving the lives of those in the communities in which we invest - whether it be through access to clean water, reliable energy, or funding to help an entrepreneur start a business. Our investments improve infrastructure, grow economies and create jobs. With the launch of 2X, we have made women in the developing world a key agency priority.

But we’re not changing where we invest, we’re changing how we invest. Under OPIC 2X, we are looking at investments through a gender lens, and thinking about how each new investment can empower women.

We know that women represent a multi-trillion dollar market. That’s an emerging market twice the size of India and China combined!

From a business perspective, it doesn’t make sense not to invest in women. Yet women around the world still face challenges when accessing financial services. In fact, 2017 was the first year that the global economic gender gap grew. At the current rate, we won’t see economic parity for 217 years. That is unacceptable.

We know that OPIC is uniquely positioned to make a difference. We have capital, we have private sector partners, we have a reach scope that spans from the local to the global level, and most importantly, we have incredibly talented and dedicated staff that underwrites large transactions every year.

Through the OPIC 2X global women’s initiative, we are going to make sure that every single dollar we invest will contribute to equitable change. Our goal is to send a message to the market, that by investing in women, we can change the world.