The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the United States government’s development finance institution, has announced plans to open its first- East Africa office in Nairobi. The corporation has appointed Suresh Samuel as Managing Director of the Kenya office.
This is the third office OPIC has opened in Africa aimed at increasing OPIC’s regional presence. The announcement was made during the ongoing U.S.-Africa Business Forum (USABF). OPIC says East Africa is a fast growing region and need for investment in power, infrastructure, water, agriculture, and other development sectors is growing.
Within President Barack Obama’s administration OPIC has opened three offices in Africa, including offices in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, and an office in Johannesburg, South Africa. These OPIC offices will support the region’s business development and promote the benefits of private sector-led development throughout Sub-Saharan Africa.
OPIC began supporting private investment in Kenya in 1974 and has since then provided Sh85 billion in finance and political risk insurance support for investments in 52 projects in Kenya. The corporation currently has about Sh70 billion of active financing and political risk insurance commitments in Kenya.
Recent projects include wind power in Kenya, agriculture across Sub-Saharan Africa, and power generation in Nigeria.
OPIC’s portfolio has grown by 250% since 2009, with more than Sh626 billion invested across the continent and Sh600 billion of that invested in Sub-Saharan Africa. It mobilizes private capital to help address critical development challenges and in doing so, advances U.S. foreign policy and national security priorities. It also 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.