Readout of Roundtable on Power Africa and Infrastructure Financing Opportunities
August 4, 2014
Washington, D.C.— On August 3, Millennium Challenge Corporation CEO, Dana J. Hyde, and Overseas Private Investment Corporation President and CEO, Elizabeth L. Littlefield, co-chaired a roundtable discussion with African government ministers and global business leaders to share strategies for attracting private sector investment for financing power and infrastructure projects in Africa.
The roundtable of ministers—representing diverse portfolios including foreign affairs, energy and development planning—engaged in a frank and open discussion with high-level corporate executives from some of the largest investment banks and asset management firms such as GE Africa, BlackRhino Capital Management, Standard Bank, Endeavor, American Capital Energy & Infrastructure, and Kupanda Capital.
The conversation focused on the challenges and policy reforms needed to unleash bankable infrastructure projects to further Africa’s economic growth. Held at the Newseum on the eve of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, the event jump-started talks on key economic issues like President Obama’s Power Africa initiative.
“Over the last ten years, MCC has invested nearly $6 billion dollars in Africa—most of which has gone towards developing and sustaining much-needed infrastructure; but, we know that infrastructure continues to be an important and growing constraint to economic growth across Africa,” Hyde stated.
Hyde added, “For this reason, MCC is currently developing seven new compacts with partner countries. And this week at the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit, we will announce a new compact that will invest $498 million in Ghana, which not only expands access to electricity to households and businesses, but also helps transform Ghana’s power utility, making it a bankable partner for private investors.”
“At OPIC, we’ve made Africa a priority, and we’ve made power a priority,” said Littlefield. “Since the launch of the Power Africa initiative a year ago, I’ve been truly excited about the results we’ve seen. Far more developers are coming to the table that have never thought about Africa before, and we’ve seen tremendous coordination and alignment of efforts among U.S. Government agencies in support of this initiative. What we’re seeing is a material change.”
“This roundtable is an important and timely chance for the U.S. Government, African ministers and private sector investors to speak openly about the challenges each of us face, and to share ideas about how we can work together to overcome them.” Littlefield added.
The summit is an historic opportunity to highlight America’s longstanding commitment to investing in Africa’s development and its people. The roundtable also offered an opportunity to engage and advance discussion on the summit’s goal of strengthening ties between the United States and one of the world’s most dynamic and fastest-growing regions.
Littlefield and Hyde welcomed Minister-Delegate for Foreign Affairs Mbarka Bouaida of Morocco, Minister of Energy Sospeter Muhongo of Tanzania, Minister of Energy Patrick Sendolo of Liberia, and Minister of Development Planning Moeketsi Majoro of Lesotho. Participating alongside these ministers were U.S. Ambassador to Liberia, Deborah Malac, and U.S. Ambassador to Morocco, Dwight Bush.
The roundtable was followed by a reception, also co-hosted by Hyde and Littlefield, to welcome partner country delegations and private sector leaders on the eve of the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit. In attendance were U.S. Trade Representative, Ambassador Mike Froman, Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee Chair on African Affairs, Senator Chris Coons, Congressional Black Caucus Chair, Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, and Congresswoman Barbara Lee.
MCC is an innovative and independent U.S. agency that is working to reduce global poverty through economic growth. Created by the U.S. Congress in January 2004, with strong bipartisan support, MCC provides time-limited grants and assistance to countries that demonstrate a commitment to good governance, investments in people and economic freedom.
OPIC is the U.S. Government’s development finance institution. It mobilizes private capital to help solve critical development challenges and in doing so, advances U.S. foreign policy. Because OPIC works with the U.S. private sector, it helps U.S. businesses gain footholds in emerging markets, catalyzing revenues, jobs and growth opportunities both at home and abroad. OPIC achieves its mission by providing investors with financing, guaranties, political risk insurance, and support for private equity investment funds.
Established as an agency of the U.S. Government in 1971, OPIC operates on a self-sustaining basis at no net cost to American taxpayers. OPIC services are available for new and expanding business enterprises in more than 150 countries worldwide. To date, OPIC has supported more than $200 billion of investment in over 4,000 projects, generated an estimated $76 billion in U.S. exports and supported more than 278,000 American jobs.