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US’ OPIC channels loan facility for early stage financing in Africa

OPIC, Ford Foundation, and Citi to bring financing to businesses serving low income communities in developing world.

The Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), the Ford Foundation, and Citi Inclusive Finance have introduced Scaling Enterprise, a $100 million loan guarantee facility, which will enable Citi to provide early-stage financing in local currency to companies that expand access to products and services for low-income communities in emerging markets.

Loans and working capital in local currency and at affordable rates can enable early-stage social impact companies to achieve scale, greater efficiencies, and lower costs. Scaling Enterprise will facilitate vital growth financing to eligible companies that are expanding access to finance, agriculture, energy, affordable housing, water, and sanitation to low-income households in emerging markets.

In addition to enabling companies to scale and expand their impact, the partnership will help these ventures gain a wider array of mainstream financing options in the future.

“For many companies that are working to meet the needs of vulnerable and underserved populations in emerging economies, their reach is limited by a lack of access to affordable finance,” said Bob Annibale, Global Director, Citi Inclusive Finance. “Scaling Enterprise is an example of how multisector partnerships and collaboration with trusted local intermediaries can serve this last mile to reach communities and drive inclusive economic growth.”

Marking the first two transactions under Scaling Enterprise, the partners have committed $5 million in financing to INI Farms to help smallholder farmers in India access export markets and increase incomes by as much as 20 percent, as well as $5 million in financing to d.light to expand access to off-grid solar energy in Kenya.

“The most innovative ideas are often developed by small, early-stage businesses without access to the capital they need to expand their reach and impact,” said OPIC’s David Bohigian. “OPIC is pleased to partner with Citi Inclusive Finance and the Ford Foundation to help these ventures scale sustainable solutions to challenges facing low-income communities across the world.”

(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.

“This extraordinary and innovative partnership with Citi and OPIC exemplifies how to utilize our capital markets to combat inequality and exclusion,” said Christine Looney, Deputy Director of Mission Investments at the Ford Foundation. “By aligning our collective resources to strengthen and empower hyper-local institutions, there is a pathway to create a more just and responsible approach with hopefully more equitable outcomes and demonstrates Ford Foundations’ commitment to mission investments.”

Source: The Exchange

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