OPIC Board Approves Critical Egyptian Power Project
June 12, 2019
WASHINGTON – The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the U.S. Government’s development finance institution, today approved $87 million in financing to Lekela Egypt Wind Power BOO S.A.E. to support economic growth in Egypt through the development of critical power infrastructure. OPIC’s support will mobilize more than $250 million in additional capital to finance the project.
“Energy security remains a critical barrier to sustainable growth in Egypt,” said OPIC Acting President and CEO David Bohigian. “By diversifying the country’s energy sources, decreasing costs to consumers, and enhancing power generation capacity, the project will expand electricity access in Egypt—creating economic opportunities that empower the Egyptian people.”
Electricity blackouts have challenged Egypt, where more than one-third of installed power capacity is over 20 years old with availability and efficiency rates below common global benchmarks. The financing approved today by OPIC’s Board will support the development, construction, and operation of a 250 MW wind power plant near the Gulf of Suez, Egypt.
The plant will address the country’s aging power infrastructure, diversify its energy mix, and reduce electricity costs. By strengthening the country’s energy security and reducing its reliance on more costly resources, the project will support U.S. efforts to foster economic growth in Egypt.
Today’s OPIC Board meeting is our penultimate meeting before we transform into the United States International Development Finance Corporation.
Since the board last convened in March, the OPIC team has been busy meeting with stakeholders and visiting key regions to develop new alliances and new opportunities that will enable us to extend our impact in the coming months and years.
I recently returned from El Salvador, where Secretary Ross and I attended the inauguration of President Bukele and highlighted the way OPIC is supporting construction of a major new power plant that will bring significant new generating capacity and help drive economic growth.
Last month – at the President’s request -I traveled to five Caribbean countries including Haiti, where OPIC signed a financing agreement to expand a hotel in the country’s burgeoning Cap Hatien region on the north coast.
This project is emblematic of the progress Haiti has made diversifying its economy and investing in the tourism sector since it was hit by a devastating earthquake almost a decade ago.
And it underscores the way OPIC supports development and economic growth in some of the world’s poorest countries.
Earlier this spring Administrator Green and I were in Ethiopia for the launch of 2X Africa, our $1 billion investment initiative to support projects that will economically empower women on the continent and to advance the White House led Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative.
2X Africa is the latest push under OPIC’s 2X Women’s Initiative, which in its first year catalyzed more than $1 billion in capital to projects that support women.
Investing in women is one of the most effective ways to achieve an impact and I’m proud of what the OPIC team and our partners have achieved in such a short time.
At the same time we’ve been hard at work right here in the building, preparing the October 1 launch of the DFC.
This is really a whole-of-OPIC effort that has involved all departments and close work with USAID’s Development Credit Authority.
Teams are busy developing a new way to measure the impact of our projects, create a new brand and so much more.
We’re now a little more than three months away from the launch and I’m happy to see growing attention around the new agency, the role of development finance, as well as the importance of countering China’s influence in the developing world.
The BUILD Act and the DFC are also generating increased attention in many of the countries where we work.
Whenever I speak about development finance, I always highlight the factors that differentiate the U.S. approach, which is designed to strengthen local economies, bring high standards covering construction and the environment and support the creation of quality jobs in host countries.
For that, we are thankful to our partners, who execute challenging projects in accordance with these high standards and help to ensure that our development is win-win for the U.S. and the host country.
We remain energized by the work that goes into creating a new government agency and the opportunity it offers to increase our impact in the world.
The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) is a self-sustaining U.S. Government agency that helps American businesses invest in emerging markets. Established in 1971, OPIC provides businesses with the tools to manage the risks associated with foreign direct investment, fosters economic development in emerging market countries, and advances U.S. foreign policy and national security priorities. OPIC helps American businesses gain footholds in new markets, catalyzes new revenues and contributes to jobs and growth opportunities both at home and abroad. OPIC fulfills its mission by providing businesses with financing, political risk insurance, advocacy and by partnering with private equity fund managers.
OPIC services are available to new and expanding businesses planning to invest in more than 160 countries worldwide. Because OPIC charges market-based fees for its products, it operates on a self-sustaining basis at no net cost to taxpayers. All OPIC projects must adhere to best international practices and cannot cause job loss in the United States.