OPIC, Citi, and Banco Sudameris Supporting $100 Million for Women-Owned Businesses in Paraguay
November 28, 2018
Asunción, Paraguay — The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S Government’s development finance institution, and Citi signed an agreement with Banco Sudameris for US$100 million in financing supporting lending to small and medium businesses in Paraguay. Supporting OPIC’s 2X Women’s Initiative, Banco Sudameris has committed to focus a percentage of lending specifically for women-owned and women-led businesses. OPIC Vice President for Investment Policy Ryan Brennan and Banco Sudameris President Conor McEnroy signed the agreement. U.S. Ambassador to Paraguay Lee McClenny and Paraguyan Minister for Women Nilda Romero Sanacruz officiated at the event.
The project is expected to have a highly developmental impact on women-owned businesses by expanding access to otherwise unavailable long-term financing. Through OPIC’s 2X Women's Initiative, which was launched in March of this year, OPIC is seeking to invest over $350 million and mobilize over $1 billion in capital supporting women-led enterprises that provide products or services that internationally empower women. In April, OPIC launched 2X Americas to mobilize $500 million for women in Latin America.
“Female entrepreneurship represents a significant economic opportunity in Paraguay and is crucial to the country’s development,” said Brennan. “Through its partnership with Banco Sudameris, OPIC is affirming its commitment to bettering the status of women in the developing world, and through such means driving economic development, as presented by its 2X Women's Initiative.”
“We are proud to have been recognized by OPIC to help strengthen the long-term financing of small and medium enterprises in Paraguay. Above all, we have the same objective: to encourage the leadership and equity of Paraguayan women within the business and entrepreneurial sector,” said McEnroy.
“For two hundred years we have been facilitating the growth and economic progress of the markets where we operate. In this year in which we celebrate our 60th anniversary in Paraguay, with this financial project we reaffirm our commitment to the economic and social development of the country,” said Germán Heberling, Citi Paraguay Country Officer. “By signing this agreement, we promote the empowerment of women, which will generate a huge economic impact and will reach the whole community.”
“The Government of United States is proud to help Paraguayan women entrepreneurs – the women who support this society in so many ways – to achieve their economic dreams,” said Ambassador McClenny.
The transaction is also supporting the first swap of interest rates in the Paraguayan financial market between Banco Sudameris and Citi with the fixing of a variable 9-year loan rate, hedging against an eventual increase.
Sudameris Bank was founded in 1910 on the initiative of PARIBAS and the Italian bank COMIT. New partners were incorporated: Indosuez in 1948, Union des Banques Suisses in 1949 and Dresdner Bank in 1977. In 1994, COMIT (later Intesa San Paolo) acquired control of the bank. The Abbeyfield group acquired a 78% stake in Sudameris Bank in 2004 and, in 2008, Abbeyfield Financial Holdings acquired the remaining 20% stake, bringing its total ownership to just over 98%. In September of this year, the FMO acquired 7.5% of the share capital, being a new member of the bank's share capital. The total assets of Sudameris Bank are US $ 1.20 billion and its share capital of US $ 110 million.
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.
Citi, the leading global bank, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and conducts business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Citi offers individuals, corporations, governments and institutions a wide range of financial products and services, including banking and consumer credit services, corporate and investment banking services, securities brokerage, transaction services and asset management.