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Elizabeth Littlefield Delivers Keynote Address at Corporate Council on Africa Annual Meeting

March 2, 2011

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Elizabeth Littlefield, President and CEO of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), delivered the keynote address at the annual meeting of the Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), telling attendees that “OPIC is bullish on Africa and eager to partner with the right kind of businesses and investors that will help advance sustained economic development and growth, especially growth that benefits her citizens most.”

“OPIC’s work in Africa has benefited from a long and fruitful partnership with CCA – the Council’s US-Africa Business Summit has in fact served as the venue to announce some of OPIC’s most important projects,” Ms. Littlefield said.

“OPIC’s priorities in Africa are three-fold: helping to build out renewable energy and other more efficient renewable resource utilization, building out infrastructure, especially infrastructure for agriculture, and expanding access to finance for small and medium-sized enterprises. Since 1974, OPIC has invested nearly $6.3 billion in 420 projects in Africa. And we want to do more – much more,” Ms. Littlefield said.

Ms. Littlefield noted that OPIC’s current exposure in Africa comprises nearly $3 billion across 109 projects.  Examples include:

  • $200 million for a desalination project in Algeria that is supplying urgently-needed potable water to 25 percent of the population of Algiers, where half the city receives water only one out of every three days; 
  • $110 million in financing and political risk insurance for food production, food processing and water management in Rwanda;  
  • $19 million in financing to expand microfinance lending in Kenya;
  • $41 million in financing and insurance for the construction of housing units in Gabon, Tanzania and South Africa;
  • $58 million in financing and insurance for the construction, renovation and expansion of primary and secondary schools in Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, and Zambia. 

Stephen Hayes, President of CCA, said, “one of the most important aspects of business for any company wishing to do business in Africa is securing financing.  This is a huge challenge, and one of the most important organizations in meeting this challenge is OPIC."