Friday, December 8, 2023

New programs and recently approved projects from the US’ Development Finance Corporation

As the US’ new Development Finance Corporation hits its stride, NE Global provides a breakdown on the latest project approvals.

A USAID project in Guatemala.

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The International Development Finance Corporation, or DFC, is the United States’ development finance institution. The DFC partners with the private sector to finance solutions to the most critical challenges facing the developing world today.

In 2018, the Trump administration authorized the formation of the DFC through special legislation with bipartisan support, pulling together several components of USAID – the US Agency for International Development, which continues to operate, and the Overseas Private Investment Corporation – later subsumed into the Development Finance Corporation.  It began operations in 2019.

It was hoped at that time the DFC would provide developing countries with financially sound alternatives to “take it or leave it” offers from Beijing for poorly conceived development projects.  These usually concerned transport networks for commodity exports to China, which often established difficult if not impossible performance requirements, and when those were not met, Beijing was able to assume control of strategic assets in those countries.

Some argue that state-funded projects from the Chinese Communist Party were actually laid out as part of a thinly disguised strategy of entrapment focused on exploiting corrupt developing countries, designed to trigger defaults and yield Chinese state takeovers, while the DFC itself labels these projects “irresponsible and unsustainable.”

New project approvals

This quarter, the DFC approved 17 new transactions totaling more than $655 million of investment. The transactions will support U.S. foreign policy and development priorities across the globe, including enabling sustainable infrastructure and energy security, advancing food security and agricultural innovation, supporting small businesses, and improving healthcare.

DFC’s Board of Directors approved three projects:

Building sustainable infrastructure in Asia and the Western Hemisphere: A $300 million loan to ISQ Growth Markets Climate Impact Fund, which will invest in critical infrastructure and energy projects in emerging markets across Asia and the Western Hemisphere.

Expanding financial inclusion opportunities for women entrepreneurs in Turkey: A $150 million purchase of bonds issued by Akbank will enable the bank to address regional and gender disparities by supporting on-lending to women and women-led businesses in the least developed provinces of Turkey.

Promoting healthcare access and transparency in rural Vietnam: An equity investment of $18 million to BuyMed Pte Ltd. will expand pharmacies, clinics, and hospitals’ access to pharmaceutical products in rural areas and increase transparency and compliance within the healthcare industry in Vietnam.

Corporation-level approvals

Additionally, the DFC approved the following investments at the Corporation level, most of which will require Congressional Notification:

Supporting entrepreneurs in Africa building agriculture and climate solutions: A $25 million equity investment in Novastar Africa People + Planet Fund, a fund that backs entrepreneurs with the capability to build and scale innovative solutions to address climate change and support agriculture and climate resilience across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Supporting micro, small, and medium businesses in the Indo-Pacific: A $10 million loan to GreenArc IndoPacific Liquidity Facility will mobilize additional $20 million capital through bond issuances to bridge financing gaps for micro, small, and medium enterprises through financial intermediaries in South and Southeast Asia.

Expanding access to energy in Africa: A $10 million loan to a technology and financing platform operating in Africa will finance long-term working capital to expand the supply of solar home systems to households and small businesses, providing hundreds of thousands of people with electricity.

Increasing economic inclusion in Colombia: A guaranty under DFC’s Scaling Enterprise Guaranty Facility covering a $5.4 million loan from Citibank to Sempli S.A.S., will support small businesses run by underserved populations, including women.

Bolstering agricultural enterprises in northern Ghana: A $10 million loan portfolio guaranty to a local lender will promote lending to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and rural community banks supporting agribusiness in Ghana, particularly in northern regions of Ghana that face high rates of poverty and malnutrition, with support from USAID.

Strengthening agricultural value chains in northern Ghana: With support from USAID, a $2.5 million loan portfolio guarantee to a local lender will support agricultural microenterprises and smallholder farmers, particularly in regions of northern Ghana that face high rates of poverty and malnutrition.

Increasing access to finance in rural Guatemala: In collaboration with USAID/Guatemala, a $12.5 million DFC loan portfolio guaranty for Banco de América Central, S.A. will support the Guatemalan bank to extend loans to SMEs with an emphasis on those operating in rural areas of the country.

Driving energy efficiency in India: A $49.5 million loan to Genus Power Infrastructures Ltd to scale up the deployment of electric “smart meters” across India, supporting energy security and transition through grid optimization and efficiency.

Boosting early growth-stage businesses in India: A commitment to Amicus Capital Partners II, a private equity fund investing in fast-growing, early growth-stage Indian businesses in sectors including financial services, food security and agriculture, healthcare, and technology and business services.

Extending capital to underserved small businesses in India: An $8 million loan guarantee will provide capital to Svakarma Finance Private Limited, a women-founded, owned, and managed non-bank financial company in India that on-lends to underserved micro, small and medium enterprises.

Boosting medical oxygen supply for healthcare in Kenya: A $10 million loan to Hewa Tele Limited will help expand the production and distribution of affordable liquid medical oxygen for hospitals and clinics across Kenya, lowering costs for healthcare providers in rural and urban areas.

Enhancing infrastructure in Lesotho: A $7.3 million loan to African Hotel Infrastructure Fund Maseru (PTY) Ltd, or an entity to be created, will aid in the construction and operation of a Maseru-based hotel, providing local economic and employment opportunities.

Improving employment and distribution in Mongolia: A $7.7 million loan to GN Beverages 2, a PepsiCo bottler, will increase the company’s production and distribution capacity to reach new customers and create new employment opportunities in the logistics industry through its distribution network across the country.

Increasing economic opportunity for underserved communities in Uganda: With support from USAID, a $9 million loan portfolio guarantee to a local lender will support loans to refugees and host communities in Uganda improving livelihoods.

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