OPIC Board of Directors Approves Over $1 Billion in Support for Investments in Developing Countries
September 15, 2016
WASHINGTON – The Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government’s development finance institution, today approved support for new development projects totaling just over $1 billion. These private sector-led development projects will invest in Sub-Saharan Africa, India, the Caribbean, and Central America in a variety of sectors including transportation, financial services, clean energy, and infrastructure.
“Today, OPIC approved over $1 billion in projects that will provide underserved populations with access to transportation, energy, and the financial tools needed to advance their businesses and improve their lives,” said Elizabeth L. Littlefield, OPIC President and CEO. “By supporting projects in various sectors, we will continue to showcase the impact that private sector-led development can have in fast-growing markets around the globe.”
The board of directors’ approval for OPIC support of these projects include:
- Up to $225 million in financing to Induslnd Bank Limited to support the expansion of its micro, small and medium enterprise (MSME) lending programs across India, with at least 25 percent of the proposed facility to support women-managed microenterprises. IndusInd reaches MSMEs across broad and diverse industries across India. This OPIC-supported loan will help to address the substantial credit gap in India’s MSME sector.
- Up to $100 million in financing to Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS) to facilitate infrastructure upgrades that will improve the quality and cost of electricity services in Jamaica. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report, Jamaica ranks 79th in terms of its electricity supply, which indicates that there is significant opportunity in this sector. The OPIC loan will help JPS expand electricity services by creating a smart streetlight program, connecting with new customers, reducing electricity theft through a community renewal initiative, and rehabilitating and upgrading its transmission and distribution network.
- Up to $135 million in financing to Platanares Geothermal, sponsored by Reno, Nevada-based Ormat Technologies, Inc. for the development, construction, and operation of a 35 megawatt geothermal baseload power plant in Western Honduras. Honduras requires a 26 percent increase in power generation capacity over the next decade to keep up with projected GDP growth. This project will be the first utility-scale geothermal project in Honduras and is expected to generate sustainable, reliable, and cost-effective power, while contributing to the Honduran Government’s goal of generating 80 percent of its energy from renewables by 2032.
- Up to $250 million in financing and $70 million in reinsurance to Parc Eolien Taiba N’Diaye (Lekela Power) for the development, construction and operation of a 158 megawatt wind farm in Taiba N’Diaye, Senegal. The project is expected to increase Senegal’s available installed power capacity of 666 megawatts by 24 percent. Senegal suffers from a chronic deficit in electricity supply with regular power rationing and blackouts that adversely affect living conditions and economic development. The cost of electricity in Senegal is high because nearly 90 percent of the electricity is currently generated using costly oil-based fossil fuel. This project is a critical component of Senegal’s power generation and sustainable energy growth plan, and supports the goals of the Power Africa initiative.
- Up to $150 million in financing to SA Taxi, which will provide loans to entrepreneurs operating minibuses in South Africa. SA Taxi provides loans, not available from traditional banks, to entrepreneurs to purchase safe and reliable minibuses, insurance, training and licensing. These minibuses are a key part of the South African transportation sector, as approximately 67 percent of all travel in South Africa is via minibus. SA Taxi currently finances approximately 26,000 minibuses, 23 percent of which are owned by women. Each minibus is a small business which supports the operators, their families and their communities. This project will help SA Taxi further expand into this important and underserved market.
OPIC is the U.S. Government’s development finance institution. It mobilizes private capital to help address critical development challenges and in doing so, advances U.S. foreign policy and national security priorities. 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, political risk insurance, and support for private equity investment funds, when commercial funding cannot be obtained elsewhere. 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.
All OPIC projects adhere to high environmental and social standards and respect human rights, including worker's rights. By mandating high standards, OPIC aims to raise the industry and regional standards of the countries where it funds projects. OPIC services are available for new and expanding business enterprises in more than 160 countries worldwide.